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Lifespan Development and Personality


Generally, the life span development is categorized into five stages as Infancy from birth to 1 year, childhood from 3 to12 years, adolescence from 12 to 20 years, adulthood from 20 to 65 years, and seniors who belong to the category of 65+ years. This paper is focused on adolescence explaining the physical cognitive, social, and moral growth of personality in the adolescent stage.

Adolescence (12-20 years)

Adolescence is the most important stage in the life span development of personality and it witnesses several changes like physical, social, cognitive, and behavioral. “Adolescence is characterized by dramatic physical changes moving the individual from childhood into physical maturity.” (Adolescent development, 2009, para.4).

Physical changes in adolescents

Some of the physical changes that happen to adolescents are in the following. The growth of testicles and scrotum is an important change among boys in adolescence. The size and shape of the genitals and the growth of hair in the armpit, leg, face, and chest are also important changes in this period. Voice change, rapid growth in height, and puberty are important milestones in this stage. There is a slight difference of change among girls in the adolescent span considering the case of boys. Development of breast, growth of hair in armpit and leg, the beginning of menstruation are some of the typical changes happening to girls in the stage of adolescence.

Hereditary and environmental influences in the growth of adolescents

These changes observed in adolescents are influenced by two factors and they are hereditary factors and environmental factors. Gene which is transmitted from the parents and the environment in which the adolescent lives plays major role in the development of the personality and physical and cognitive growth.


It is found that adolescents who are coming from well to do family have sufficient growth of physique when it is compared with the adolescents who are from the poor families. It is one of the examples for the environmental factors. It is observed that people who belong to a same family have the same body structure. The characteristics of the gene are transmitted from one generation to other.

Cognitive development in the adolescents

The growth of cognition is the special characteristic in the adolescents. “Comprehend abstract content, such as higher mathematic concepts, and develop moral philosophies, including rights and privileges. Establish and maintain satisfying personal relationships by learning to share intimacy without inhibition or dread, Move gradually towards a more mature sense of identity and purpose and Question old values without a sense of dread or loss of identity” (Adolescent development, 2009, para.3).

Hereditary and environmental influences in the growth of cognition

The two factors influencing the development of the cognition are hereditary and environmental. We see the children starting to reason in this stage. They evaluate the context in which they live and they absorb the social realities into their life.


It is observed that the adolescents who are the siblings of highly qualified persons are smarter in the studies than the children who are the siblings of farmers and this is the example for the hereditary factors influencing the development of the cognitive factors. The adolescent who has a lot stress in the life is found to be low in their cognitive development.

Factors affecting the social, moral and Personality development

Socialization is the process in which a biological being transforms in to a sociological being. The socialization happens in two stages. They are the primary and the secondary socialization. The primary socialization happens in the family were the socializing agents are the parents and the close family relatives. In the secondary socialization happens in the schools and the society where the peer groups and the members of the society act as the secondary socializing agents. Social interactions are the primary factors in influencing the personality of an individual. The environment that a person is being brought up can influence the personality development of a person. For example Adolph Hitler is brought in a situation where there is no moral standards are kept. The moral standard that he had kept was not acceptable or adjustable in the society he belonged. Thus we can say that there are many factors affecting the personality of a person such as Family atmosphere, the culture of the society that he or she belongs, the education institution, the peer group etc., Erik Eriksson in his theory of he classifies the total development of a person in to eight. In his theory he does not refer to the hereditary factors influencing the personality of the In each stages Eriksson refer to the stage of crisis. Where the individual learn certain virtues or a maladaptive behavior if the opposing disposition or crisis is not balanced. For example fourth stage of Eriksson is the stage of Identity versus role confusion adolescence is the stage where the individual develop the virtue of fidelity and devotion. Here the influence of the peer groups is much more relevant. Erickson personality is more incorporated cultural and social aspects. In Freud psychosocial development he refers more in terms of sexual factors. The adolescence is lying between the Latent and the phallic stage in the psycho sexual development of Freud. The biological factor is affecting more the personality development of an individual. He further points out that there is nothing influencing the personality rather the conditioning from the previous phase influences the development. “In the phallic stage the bodily functions such and the Glandular, hormone and physical changes cause a “resurgence of sexual thoughts, feeling and behavior.” (Erikson’s psychological development theory: Freud’s psychosexual stages – overview, 2010, para.5).

During the adolescence Mr. Raju does not get any positive encouragement from the family or the society. He did not get positive appreciation about his identity in the society or the family he belongs. His father always rebukes him and criticizes him that he is not performing his duties. His mother has not living with his father she has divorced and got married to another man. The family atmosphere plays a vital role in his development of personality. As a result of it a malignancy of repudiation is formed in him also. He has not mingling with his friends due to introversion. This Behavior he got from the early child hood. This introversion reflects during the adolescence. Thus the behaviors is not modified or influenced much during the adolescence. Thus we can say that both biological and the environmental factors influence the personality of the individual. The moral and the social behavior is both learned and inherited.

Reference List

  1. Adolescent development, (2009). Lifespan.
  2. Erikson’s psychological development theory: Freud’s psychosexual stages – overview. (2010).

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