This BHS-420: Human Development course gives students an understanding of the nature and needs of people throughout their lives. This course examines physical, cognitive, and socioemotional development at different stages of life. Students also learn about the impact of spiritual and moral beliefs throughout their lives.
What exactly is human development? Human development is a branch of psychology whose goal is to better understand people — how they develop, grow, and change over time. This broad discipline can help people better understand themselves and their relationships.
How and when does human development occur, if it is the study of how people change throughout their lives? Many scientists and psychologists, including ego psychologist Erik Erikson, have studied various aspects of human development. He looked at the impact of social experiences throughout a person’s life and proposed that psychosocial development takes place in eight stages.
What are the eight stages of human development?
stage 1: Infancy: Trust vs. Mistrust
Infants learn to trust their caregivers based on how well they meet their basic needs and respond to their cries during the first stage of human development. If an infant cries out for food, the parent has the option of feeding and comforting the child or ignoring the child. Infants learn that relying on others is safe when their needs are met; when their needs are not met, infants grow up to be less trusting.
stage 2: Toddlerhood: Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt
Another way to think of the second stage is independence versus dependence, in addition to autonomy versus shame and doubt. Toddlers respond to their caregivers in this stage, just as they did in the first. Toddlers will develop a sense of self-efficacy if their caregivers encourage them to be independent and explore the world on their own. These toddlers will grow up with less confidence in their abilities if their caregivers hover excessively or encourage dependence.
For example, if a toddler wants to walk without assistance in a safe area, the caregiver should encourage this independence by allowing it. If the caregiver insists on holding the toddler’s hand even when it isn’t necessary, the toddler may develop doubt later in life as a result of the caregiver’s attention.
stage 3: Preschool Years: Initiative vs. Guilt
Children learn to assert themselves and speak up when they need something during their preschool years. Some children may express sadness because a friend has taken their toy. If they receive a positive response to their assertiveness, they will learn that taking initiative is a beneficial behavior. If they’re made to feel guilty or ashamed for being assertive, they’ll grow up to be timid and less likely to take the initiative.
stage 4: Early School Years: Industry vs. Inferiority
When children start school, they begin to compare themselves to their classmates. Children develop strong self-esteem when they feel accomplished in comparison to their peers. If, on the other hand, they notice that other children have achieved milestones that they have not, they may experience self-esteem issues. For example, a first-grader may notice that he or she consistently performs worse on spelling tests than his or her peers. This can lead to feelings of inferiority if it becomes a habit.
stage 5: Adolescence: Identity vs. Role Confusion
The term “identity crisis” was coined during the adolescent stage, and with good reason. The development of a sense of self is central to adolescence. Teenagers who are able to clearly identify who they are grow up with more self-awareness and goals than those who struggle to break free from their parents’ or friends’ influences. Teenagers who still rely on their parents for social interaction and guidance may be more confused about their roles than those who pursue their own interests.
stage 6 : Young Adulthood: Intimacy vs. Isolation
People begin to solidify their lifelong bonds in young adulthood, which begins around the age of 20. Many people enter committed relationships or marriages, while others form lifelong friendships. People who are able to form and maintain these relationships benefit emotionally, while those who are unable to do so may become isolated. A young adult who forms and maintains close friendships in college may experience greater intimacy than one who struggles to form and maintain close friendships.
stage 7: Middle Adulthood: Generativity vs. Stagnation
People in their mid-twenties have a hard time figuring out what they want to do with their lives. They could be focused on raising their children or pursuing a career. Generativity, or the sense of leaving a legacy, is felt by those who feel they are contributing. Those who do not believe their work or lives matter, on the other hand, may experience feelings of stagnation. A middle-aged adult raising a family and working in a career that presumably helps people, for example, may feel more fulfilled than an adult working at a meaningless day job.
stage 8: Late Adulthood: Integrity vs. Despair
Adults who are nearing the end of their lives reflect on their lives. Adults who are fulfilled by their lives, whether through a happy family or a meaningful job, achieve ego integrity, which allows them to face aging and death with dignity. If older people don’t believe they’ve lived a good life, they’re at risk of becoming depressed.