Adult development theory

This research analysis is based on the research findings of Eleanor Drago-Severson, Deborah Helsing, Robert Kegan, Maria Broderick, Kathryn Port now, and Nancy Popp on Adult Development. It was conducted in the late 20th century and was based on a group of 41 adult learners from around the world who were enrolled in three different US ABE programs a community college, a family literacy site, and a workplace site.

Social cultural

These are factors that affect the individual as a result of the social and cultural interactions, they are generated externally and affect the process of development, according to the researchers human beings cannot be separated from the contexts in which they live but are part of them. This to certain scholars is called the child in activity- in context.

This asserts that culture influences what the individuals think about and what skills they obtain in the course of growing up, culture in addition influences who is supposed to do what activities. Different cultures have different emphasis on the kind of tools (e.g. non verbal or verbal skills )and social interactions( like formal or informal institutions )due to different cultural needs and values, this in turn influences who people become.( Allemand, M., Amberg, I., Zimprich, D., & Fincham, F. D. 2007)

Social cultural factors such as race, gender and ethnicity also influence adult development this is because these factors position people in relation to each other and in relation to the society which rewards those who fit into the social elements. The society will at the same time devalue those who fall outside these elements.


Adult development theory

It is the combination of these factors in totality other than the influence of one that affects adult development

A study conducted by Johnson Bailey, 2001, on several African- American women showed how discrimination based on gender, race and class affects the strive to get education. When speaking on the influence of race and gender (Bailey) noted that they both impact the educational processes of these women in a couple of ways. Being blacks these women were thought to be intellectually and morally inferior and by the fact of being women they are held to task due to their alleged inferiority in intelligence.

The social cultural view holds that the individual and the society are inseparable and the individuals develop intrinsically but are shaped and molded by the forces of the society within which they live.

Family is the immediate environment that earn individual interacts with since birth thus the first values that an individual adapts are that of the family. Various studies have shown that the values that found the family are the same values that mould the individuals too be raised in that family.

A family that have a strong insistence of education is less likely to have an individual who does not value education this then demonstrates that the influence of the family is very central in the development of the individual and how far he goes is highly dependent on the foundational values, skills and principles which we implanted to him by the family. (Johnson –Bailey 2001)


Adult development theory

Thus as far as the family and social cultural factors are concerned they play a very big role in shaping the individual and are catalysts or inhibitors in the development of the individual, inhibitors in the case where the society devalues the social elements of the individual and a catalyst incases where the values held by the individual are valued b the society.

Personality development and change across the lifespan.

Personality is said to be the total ways in which the individual reacts and interacts with the other individuals, it is main components are those thoughts, feelings and behavior that are deeply ingrained in the individual. Though personality as maybe traced in the definition sounds like something that is inbuilt it is highly influenced by several factors that an individual interacts with as he grows up.

These factors include the following:-

-Heredity this refers to factors determined at conception thus these are completely or substantially determined by who the parents are. That is by their biological, physiological and psychological make up.

-Environment, the environment is the surroundings within which the individual is brought up, these may include culture in which the individual is brought up in, norms among the family friends and social groups. The environment that we grow up in plays a substantial role in the person we later become.

-Situation, These influence the effects of heredity and environment on personality, though an individual’s personality may be quite stable it is bound to change when faced with various situations. (Clark, M., & Caffarella, R. 2000),


Adult development theory

All these factors contribute towards our personality and are responsible to any changes that maybe evident in the course of an individual’s life as he goes through the various spans of his/her life.

The life span of the individual determines the people that an individual interacts with for an example as a child one’s personality is in a great way influenced by the parents and as the individual grows up this change’s to include other members of the society who alter the personality of this individual.

Physical development and change across the lifespan

Physical development of an individual is the perceivable increase in statue of an individual. This development is divided into three stages which may also be termed as the life span of the individual.

These stages are the newly born child, at this stage the individual is fully dependent on the parents an can hardly carry out any activity and is not subject to most of the influencing factors that are external.

Toddler- Through learning and development the child starts being somehow independent as the diets change and the external environment and factors start to marginally affect his/her growth. This particular stage is characterized with accelerated growth.


Adult development theory

Puberty and adolescence-This is the stage where the individual strives to rediscover hi/herself and is very prone to influence from others and other underlying factors.

Old age-At this stage the personality of the individual is defined and very few changes can occur in terms of character or values, at this stage the individual lives the results of the various beliefs, values , norms he acquired or held to in the course of his/her life. (Zimprich, D., Allemand, M., & Hornung, R. 2006).

Genetic heritage factors

Genetic factors are those present at birth and are generational; this is so because they are determined fully by the parents who in turn had them from their parents.

Genetic factors cannot be controlled by the individual and the definition of development is expected to take cue from that of the parents. Recent scientific studies have shown that nearly every reliably measured psychological phenotype is influenced by genetic factors. It is further discussed that environmental influences are often but not always of less importance than genetic factors and nearly decrease to a near zero after adolescence. This study shows how important the genetic factors are to the development of the individual. (Clark, M., & Caffarella, R.2000).

Demographic and social historical factors

Demographics are a wide range of external factors that affect the individual , some schools of


Adult development theory

thought refer to them as variables of a population and include, age, sex, education level, income level, marital status, occupation, religion, birthrate, death rate, average size of a family, average age at marriage.

As we look at these factors we realize that they touch on every aspect of the individual’s life though the impact of the factors may not be of the same proportion .The combination of these factors is what determines the individual’s character other than a single element of the whole range of factors.

An example being at the early stage of an individual’s life such elements as the size of the family, income level of his particular family and age of the parents may all come together to mould the character of the individual. This in turn determines how this individual responds to others and conducts himself in the various stages of development through out his life.

Historical factors are those that shaped the society in the past and are passed down through individuals these include various cultural beliefs and norms that either require an individual to do or not to do some things. These factors help shape the individual in a certain way agreeable to the society; this in turn affects development of these individuals as they strive to conform to these factors.(Zimpric and Howing R 2006)

Besides the individuals strive the factors also define certain things in the individual’s life that end up molding the individual in conformance to the factors.

Age graded development stages and incremental adaptation


Adult development theory

Development involves movement from one state to another, important to development is the certain stages that defines the developmental phases of an individual. People are seen as making systematic progression in a certain order through a series of phases, towards adult status. This movement involves changes in intellectual capacity, ability of the individual, and the impact of life events and experiences.

As may be indicated in the scholars work a popular way of expressing these transitions between the different phases requires changes in the character of an individual. It is argued that the lifecycle consists of four phases with each lasting twenty five years; each of these phases is identified with a number of developmental periods within them. Concentration being on early and middle adulthood, the phases and main developmental periods are as follows:

-Childhood and adolescence: This is birth to about the age of twenty five with the early childhood transition taking place at age three.

-Early adulthood: This ranges from age seventeen to forty five, early adult transition seventeen to twenty two, entering adult world twenty two to twenty eight, Age thirty transition twenty eight to thirty three, settling down thirty three to forty.

-Middle adulthood age forty to sixty five, middle life transition forty to forty five, entering middle adulthood forty five to fifty and age fifty transition fifty to fifty five, and culmination of middle adulthood fifty five to sixty.

-Late adulthood, age sixty on with late adult transition being age sixty five on.


Adult development theory

Within the broad phases are periods of development each period characterized by a set of tasks and attempt to modify one’s life structure. Each transition between eras thus requires a basic change in the character of ones life.(Merriam ,S 2001).

Research design and methodology

The research was meant to evaluate discussions and findings of the various writers and researchers in the field of adult development; this involved a review of comprehensive work by these individuals an making a summary of their findings in the context of five headings. The data involved was mostly qualitative thus the research method was basically qualitative to.


Allemand, M., Amberg, I., Zimprich, D., & Fincham, F. D. (2007). The role

Of trait forgiveness and relationship satisfaction in episodic forgiveness.

Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 26, 199-217.

Allemand, M., Zimprich, D., & Herzog, C. (2007). Cross-sectional age differences

And longitudinal age changes of personality in middle adulthood and old


Adult development theory

Age. Journal of Personality, 75, 323-358.

Clark, M., & Caffarella, R. (eds.) (2000), An Update on Adult Development Theory

: New Ways of Thinking about the Life Course. (New Directions for Adult

And Continuing Education, No. 84.) San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.ment, 22, 280-287.

Johnson-Bailey J (2001).Making a way out of no way Malabai, F L Krieger press

Merriam, S (2001). The new update on adult Learning a theory San fransisco:


Zimprich, D., Allemand, M., & Hornung, R. (2006). Measurement invariance of

The abridged sense of coherence scale in adolescents. European Journal of Psychological

Allemand, M., Amberg, I., Zimprich, D., & Fincham, F. D. (2007). The role of trait forgiveness and relationship satisfaction in episodic forgiveness. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 26, 199-217.

Allemand, M., Zimprich, D., & Hertzog, C. (2007). Cross-sectional age differences and longitudinal age changes of personality in middle adulthood and old age. Journal of Personality, 75, 323-358.

Zimprich, D., Allemand, M., & Hornung, R. (2006). Measurement invariance of the abridged sense of coherence scale in adolescents. European Journal of Psychological Assess Clark, M.,

& Caffarella, R. (eds.) (2000), An Update on Adult Development Theory: New Ways of Thinking

about the Life Course                                                                      . (New Directions for Adult and Continuing


Adult development theory

Education, No. 84.) San  Francisco: Jossey-Bass.ment, 22, 280-287.