Various factors effecting human growth and development

Human growth and development is a process, which follows through people’s life stages by developing physical, intellectual and social skills and there are five factors that can influence or affect it. The factors can be: biological, social, economic, environmental and cultural. All of these factors influence human growth and development trough life journey, but it affects differently. The factors can have impact on growth and development in positive and negative way.

This essay analyses factors that influence Rita’s growth and development through different life cycles by arguing theoretical theories of some well known theorists. The essay starts with Rita’s childhood that goes to adolescence and later transmits to adulthood. First of the life stages is childhood. Most theories have the same approach to it, where the physical and emotional development has a big impact on later life stages and is a critical time for the development of healthy attachment relationships.

According to Erikson (Gross, 1992, pp 628 – 629) in the infancy and childhood, a child starts to build trust and belief in surrounding environment that would guide him in the future. Furthermore, Bowlby and Ainsworth (Bowllby, Ainsworth, 1991, p 333) argued that attachment theory is “personality development based on the interaction of the child and the caregiver during infancy and early childhood”. If the interaction is lacking or it is defective, it can have a suppressive impact on infant’s mental health, including undermining resiliency and the ability to cope during childhood as well as in later life.

On the basis of these arguments, it implies that Rita was raised to be a confident person with a lot of potentiality to develop right skills for life. Although Rita’s parents were hard working agriculturists, they had made sure that she and her sibling had all affection and welfare. They not only provided children with conventional moral state, but gave them the best start in life with good nutrition from their own grown vegetables, poultry and meat.

Saying that, Rita was born during the II World War when population was facing food shortage and according to Bogin (Bogin, 1999) during this time children’s stature had decreased, but not in Rita’s case. Her inherited genes from parents left Rita growing tall as well as her siblings, indicating that environment does not always affect person’s growth in full. Secondly follows adolescence and it is one of the most conflict stages through people’s life span; in witch numbers of changes are occurred. Not only body goes though changes during puberty, but the incidence of emotional and mental problems increases, too.

Erikson in his theories alleged, that during this period, young adults have moral issues as well as self identity, conflicts in family relationships and peer pressure (Gross, 1992, pp 628 – 629). During this stage, Rita not only had to experience these problems, but had to face the biggest change in her life – exile. All her family were expatriated from their home to another country were had to start a new life from the beginning. Rita reached her critical period during her exile confronting new culture, environment and language.

Nevertheless this period of life was fraught of emotional difficulties Rita had coped really well by adopting new changes. As stated in the book ‘Adolescents in wartime’ (American Academy of Political and Social Science, 1974, p 137) if child comes to adolescence with past experience that included love and reasonable level of discipline… he handles the conflicts of the critical period with minimum turmoil’ and that would be a case in Rita’s life. Getting all needed emotional support and bonding from parents, helped Rita to deal with critical period in the most positive way.

As a result of exile Rita had been closer to her family, than friends, denying Erikcon’s theoretical proposition, that in adolescence young adults have the most significant relationship with peers (Harder, 2002). In sum, Rita’s adolescence lives was more or less conform of theories, were she reached her puberty, struggled with social interactions and explored sexual experience. Finaly, adulthood begins and it is the longest stage of people’s life – cycle and according to Levinson it is “one of the best kept secret in our society and probably in human history generally”.

(Gross, 1992, p 700). This stage of life consists different aspects and needs to achieve own identity as well as having high ambitions to succeed, select a partner, start a family and accept responsibilities (Neivid, Ruthus, 2005). Just transiting this path of life, Rita had to change her life yet again, by having been sent back to homeland. While living back at home, she was working in kolkhoz earning little money and helping her parents to re – built their life as a agriculturists. As most theories stated, Rita got married and had children in yearly adulthood.

She lived in extended family, where she took care not only for her children, but her parents in law, too. While caring for parents in law, after children left home, Rita prevented inactivity and meaninglessness that helped her to avoid Middle life crisis (Aiken, 1998). This followed in late adulthood too, when she started volunteering and helping other people. In a consequence all the five factors affected Rita’s growth and development through life cycle, while some had more substantial impact on it, than others.

The environmental and social factors had the biggest influences on Rita’ life, that intensively followed through all her life journey. Hers life was full of significant changes, making her work physically hard all her adulthood and at some point suffering from poverty, yet all these aspects had affected her more emotionally and mentally rather than physically. Saying that, Rita did handled the changes in a positive way, proving that childhood upbringing has a big influence on the later stages of life, giving more stability and security (Gross, 1992)

References and Bibliography

Aiken, L. R., (1998), Human Development in Adulthood, USA, Plenum Press

Ainsworth, M. D. S., Bowlby, J., (1999), An ethological Approach To Personality development, American Psychologist

American Academy of Political and Social Science (1974), Adolescents in wartime, Philadelphia, The academy in Philadelphia

Boggin, B. (1999), Patterns of Human Growth, United Kingdom, The Press Syndicate of the Cambridge

Harder, A. F. (2002) The Developmental Stages Of Erik Erikson, [accessed on 20th November, 2009]

Nevid, J. S., Rathus, S. A. (2005). Psychology and the challenges of life: Adjustment in the new millennium, 9th ed., NJ, John Wiley & Sons.

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