Unit 4 Development through the life stages
1.1 Life stages
The human lifespan has been described in terms of life stages for centuries. The life stages are listed inTable 4.1. The age ranges of some life stages aredened by social criteria. However, the age ranges forcertain stages can vary depending on the expert whois describing it.
Life stageAgeKey features
Conception9 monthsbeforebirthEgg and sperm fuse aftersexual intercourse andcreate a new living beingPregnancy(gestation)9 monthsto birthPhysical development of embryo and foetusBirth andinfancy0–3 yearsAttachment to carersChildhood4–9 yearsFirst experience of educationAdolescence10–18yearsIdentication with peergroup – puberty takes placeduring this periodAdulthood18–65yearsThe right to vote, andmanage one’s own nancialaffairs, happens at 18Olderadulthood65 yearsonwards65 is the current age whenmen (and women born after6 April 1955) receive a statepensionFinal stagesof life VariablePhysical ‘decline’
Social Trends (2009) state that boys born in 2006 canexpect to live to 77 while girls born in 2006 can expectto live to 82 years of age. So
at birthis 77 for males and 82 for females. Life expectancy atbirth is an average, not some kind of limit. As you growolder there is more chance that you might live longerthan the average expected life at birth. A man who hasalready reached the age of 65 is expected, on average,to live until the age of 82 while a woman who has livedto be 65 is expected to live until the age of 85. So thelife expectancy of a man who is already 65 is a further17 years and the life expectancy of a woman of 65 is afurther 20 years.
– an estimate of the number of years that aperson can expect to live (on average).
– a life course is a map of what is expected tohappen at the various stages of the human life cycle.
Can you map your ‘life course’?
A life course describes the path of the human life cycle.Stages such as infancy, childhood and adulthood,can be described alongside the social roles andexpectations associated with different stages of thelifecourse.In the past many experts assumed that the human
would be controlled by biology. Growthand development progress until adults are able toreproduce. As people get older a process of physicaldecline sets in and continues until the person dies.This view of the life course can be described as the‘springboard theory’.In the past people often assumed that everyone wouldhave similar experiences of the life course. John’s storyat the beginning of this unit provides an example of people’s expectations.
Do you think that there is a ‘best age to be’ or canevery period of life be the best time in some way?
ChildhoodEarly adulthoodLater lifeSpringboardWater
I am growingstronger and taller.I am at the heightof my ability.It‛s all downhill now!
The ‘springboard’ model of the life course
BTEC’s own resources
1. The stages of growth and developmentthroughout the human lifespan
Case study:An interview with John
So you would say you can’t predictyour life course?
Well, life throws you lots of challenges– things don’t always work out likeyou want them to. I worked for lots of companies but they went out of businessand I had to retrain to do different jobs.Nowadays I work in IT – in 1960 therewasn’t any information technology. Asthe world changes you have to changetoo.
Would you say that there is no suchthing as a life course?
No, you do change as you get older,and some things you can predict. Imean, I’m just not t enough to playfootball any more – too many aches andpains – your body does let you down asyou get older. But I think if you’ve gota dream, something you really want todo – well you just might achieve yourdream eventually. For instance I’m reallyhappy now – good job, happy family –everything is going great, but I had a lotof setbacks along the way.John had a clear idea of his life course when he was10, but his life experiences did not t a straightforwardpattern.
1 Do you think John was unusual in not having astraightforward life story?2 Why is it difcult to predict what will happen inyour life
3 How far can you choose how your life worksout?
M y life in the f u ture 18 th Jan 1960I will ﬁ nish wi th school when I am 15.WhenI ge t ou t of schoolI willwor k on the milk round slike m y d ad . When Iam 17 I willmee ta girland la ter we willge t married . T hen I will be a d ad .I willpla y f oot ball a t the wee kend s. When I am 50 Ican s top wor k and wa tch T V all d a y. B y then people willgoon holid a y to the moon bu t I will be to old to go on holid a y or go ou tany more.
John’s school book from 1960
Talking to John now:
It makes me laugh looking back at myold school work. When you’re only 10you don’t have much idea of life. I gotsome of it right. I did start delivering milkand I did get married in my twenties, butI ended up having loads of different jobsand have been divorced twice.