Lifespan Studies

The American Psychological Association (2014) defines psychological development as the study of the development of emotional, social, cognitive, and intellectual abilities of humans and how they function during their lifetime from infancy to old age. Various psychological studies and research have been conducted with the primary goal of understanding human development. Many theories on human development have been derived from these studies. These theories are instrumental in understanding the various stages of human life. It is common knowledge that as we grow old, we become wiser. Hence, one of the main ways of understanding life is through spending time with the aged and getting to interview them about how they have lived their life. This would also be a chance to question them on the tough questions on life because they have seen it all. The responses from the interview would in one way or the other prove whether or not the principles contained in the theories are right. Life’s primary stages may be categorized into three – childhood, adulthood, and old age. As humans pass through each of these developmental stages, they tend to develop different traits. There are also different circumstances, virtues, crises, and events in each of these stages that are critical in shaping up the lives of humans as they grow. As I interviewed my subject named James Beeler, a male aged 82 years, I could not fail to conclude that life is a series of seasons and events that are meant to stretch and develop one’s inner being. One of the basic theories that explain how life evolves in stages is Erikson’s psychological development theory. According to Newman and Newman (2017), the basis of the theory is that life is a series of challenges and lessons which help humans to grow. Fundamentally, the theory categorizes life’s psychological development into eight stages. Five of the stages occur as one develops from birth to eighteen years while the rest of the stages extend into adulthood and as humans grow, they move chronologically from one virtue to another (Syed amp. McLean, 2017). In the development of the theory, Erikson’s primary interest was the same as Sigmund Freud’s. He was interested in how an individual’s behavior and personality are influenced from after birth during childhood and not before birth. Beeler was born in 1940 as the world went into World War 2. He was the last born in a family of three boys. His father was a soldier and the mother, a house help who later on became an office secretary. He has a vague memory of his infancy. He lost his father to the war in 1944 and so was raised by a single parent. His mother was never re-married. Life was tough during infancy as his mother had to do other menial jobs besides being a house help to fend the family. It was while she was doing the odd menial jobs that an opportunity for women emerged in the streets of New York. Small-scale banks were looking for women who could be enrolled as typists to assist in the general office work. Beeler’s mother was lucky to be absorbed by the Federal Reserve Bank in 1947, and after two months of training, she was good to go as a typist earning $1.5 per hour. The wages were enough to fend for the family and also take Beeler to school. Before Beeler joined a school, her mother had always been homeschooling him by teaching him the alphabet, simple numbers, and the basic names of items.