Life Span

Terri Combs-Orme

in Social Work

ISBN: 9780195389678
Published online December 2009 | | DOI:
Life Span

Show Summary Details


Social work practice should be based on an understanding of human development and behavior. In recent years these topics have frequently been presented employing a life span framework. The study of development across the life span is based on the premise that development is continuous and transactional from birth to death. Developmental status at any stage of life is influenced not just by proximal events and circumstances but also by the events and circumstances of previous stages, in interaction with individuals' risk and protective factors, both biological and psychosocial. A life span perspective on human development generally includes a focus on the major life stages, that is, specific periods with recognizable important developmental challenges and tasks. In addition, constructs associated with developmental psychopathology are often invoked: resilience, risk, and protective factors in particular. Finally, the life span perspective recognizes the specific historical events that mold generational identities. The sources listed in this entry include general references for an understanding of the life span perspective as well as material specific to the important life stages. A variety of theoretical approaches are included: neurophysiological, which is growing in importance in social work's focus on human development, and the more traditional theories, including ecological, systems, developmental psychopathology, attachment theory, and major child development theorists.

Article.  8433 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.