Lifespan Development - SO308

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2018-19
(version 2)
View Timetable
4 15 (7.5) DR E Skoura-Kirk







The module will begin with a general introduction to lifespan approaches and subsequently address the following areas incorporating multiple perspectives on each topic (biological/medical, cognitive, developmental, psychodynamic, social, humanistic and other prominent approaches, focusing specifically on bio-psychosocial approaches):

• Development in early childhood.
• Relationship between brain development and attachment in infancy.
• Childhood development influences on later life.
• Early socialisation.
• Cognitive development and learning in middle/later childhood.
• Social factors: education, gender roles and gender stereotypes, child abuse, and children in care.
• Theories of adolescence: identity and transitions, biological, emotional, social and cultural influences in adolescence.
• Disability and adolescence.
• Sexuality.
• Young adulthood: independence, leaving home, homelessness, mental health and prison, voluntary and forced migration.
• Adult attachments: relationships, family dynamics and parenting, sexuality, sex and gender.
• Maturity: (un)employment, poverty, domestic violence and sexual assault, mental health, people with learning disabilities and stigma.
• The concept of self and humanistic approaches.
• Ageing: body and mind, psychological, social and cultural aspects of ageing, understanding self. Social, political and socioeconomic influences.
• Retirement.
• Death and dying, grief and mourning.
• Terminal illness and physical decline.
• Dementia-type illnesses: anticipatory grief, self- and other-perception.
• Recognising diversity and difference throughout the life span, acknowledging cross-cultural differences in attachment, development and separation.

The relevance of the above topics to social work theory and practice will be discussed during lectures and seminars.

Method of assessment

The assessment will comprise two pieces of coursework:

•One 2,000-word assignment requiring students to reflect how course material on life span development helps explain individuals' development or behaviour. The assessment will count for 50% of the final mark.
•One 2,000-word essay counting for 50% of the final assessment. The essay will test knowledge of the course material, critical argument and evaluation, and application of theory to social work practice.

Indicative reading

Ashworth P (2000) Psychology and ‘Human Nature’. Hove: Psychology Press

Coleman J & Hendry L (1999) The Nature of Adolescence 3rd ed. London: Routledge

Crawford K and Walker J (2003) Social Work and Human Development. London: Sage, Learning Matters

Daniel B, Wassell S and Gilligan R (2010) Child Developement for Child Care and Protection Workers 2nd ed. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Feeney J & Noller P (1996) Adult Attachment. London: Sage

Green L (2010) Understanding the Life Course. Bristol: Policy Press

Jarvis M (2000) Theoretical Perspectives in Psychology. London: Routledge

Parrish M (2010) Social Work Perspectives on Human Behaviour. Berkshire: Open University Press

Sudbery J (2010) Human Growth and Development. London: Routledge

Whitbourne S (2000) Adulthood and Aging. New York: Wiley

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

11.1 Show a basic understanding of a lifespan approach to human development, and transitions in development.

11.2 Recognise the relevance of different underlying psychological and physiological perspectives to understanding individual human development and behaviour.

11.3 Identify the complexity of hereditary, social, political, cultural, economic and environmental factors that influence human development and their interactions.

11.4 Demonstrate understanding of diversity and difference in conjunction with knowledge of particular life-span models.

11.5 Examine the intersection of psychological theories and social factors with issues of discrimination, disadvantage, inequality and injustice.

11.6 Demonstrate understanding of connections between lifespan models and social work interventions and theories.

This module will also provide students with underpinning knowledge that they will be able to use preparing for and working with service users during assessed practice learning.

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.