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Concept of Human Development

Theoretical developmental frameworks are used to describe and understand different human processes. Human development rapidly progresses which starts from the stage of conception. Before transforming into a complex, physiological being, human beings start as a single-cell developing embryo. Physical, cognitive, and psychosocial development are emphasized in tracing the concept of development, in different settings and different contexts. From conception, the embryo grows in a cephalocaudal manner or starting from head towards the lower parts of the body.

Each genetic potentials and body parts are considered unique that is why prenatal period is the phase where simple to complex development occurs. The fetus is totally dependent on the mother. Oxygen, carbon dioxide, nutrients and elimination of waste products are all provided by the mother until the time the fetus is delivered outside the womb. Freud’s psychosexual theory asserts that pleasure or gratification is important for a child’s development. When these pleasures are either gratified too much or two little, or when the child is completely deprived of these things, it might result to regressive and unlikely behaviors.

During infancy, sucking is one of the most important pleasures that when not met, can result to overeating and smoking behaviors later in life. Sensual gratification is the goal to achieve during toddlerhood, which is in the form of toilet training. Oedipus and Electra complexes emerge during preschool and according to this theory, masturbation and other forms of pleasurable sexual sensations are dominant at this stage. Freud’s view of this theory encompasses that everything has to do a lot with gratifying sexual pleasures because it for Freud, things relating to psychosexual gratification defines human development.

Erikson’s psychosocial theory focuses on specific tasks for specific human development stages. On identity versus role confusion, finding a person’s true identity is crucial. Development of integrated sense of self is the ultimate goal that if not achieved, will result to role confusion. Intimacy versus isolation is a context responsible for the feeling of being loved and belonging to someone. Human beings reaching middle adulthood most concern is nurturing and guiding their children. Adults are now gaining perspective towards everything about the world and not only personal level.

When they reach old age, acceptance of life and death is achieved. This psychosocial theory generally applies to the fact that “no man is an island”. Erikson’s ideal describes humans as social beings with interpersonal and interdependent needs. These are just two of the manifold developmental theories that analyze human life span. These theories encompass developmental gains and losses, describe development as a lifelong process and differentiate optimization, adaptation and compensation from contextual environment . Dependence during prenatal period specifies that in order to gain independence, human beings need to learn being dependent.

On the other hand, if this dependence becomes too much or too little, the individual might end up fully incapable of providing himself the independence he needs to accomplish other things that he has to accomplish later in life. Social relationships are also very important in a human being’s life, especially for adolescents. We have to establish certain types of relationships that would enable as to function normally and to truly discover our real identities. These are the points where realizations and reorientations are concluded.

As middle adults, responsibilities can either be gains or losses but during old age, a sense of fragility appears when acceptance is not established and denial halts awareness about questionable matters in life. Everything depends on how well or how poor humans achieved interrelated tasks of human development. The concept of human development is not just about gaining and losing. It is about achieving a full understanding of how life is lived and where life is headed to.


Crisp, J. , Potter, P. A. , Perry, A. G. , & Taylor. C. 2005). Potter and Perry’s fundamentals of nursing. Elsevier Australia.

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