• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10
  11. 11
  12. 12
  13. 13
  14. 14
  15. 15
  16. 16
  17. 17
  18. 18
  19. 19
  20. 20
  21. 21
  22. 22
  23. 23
  24. 24
  25. 25
  26. 26
  27. 27
  28. 28
  29. 29

Critically examine the idea of the stages of development and its impact on professional practice with reference to: infancy and childhood.

Extracts from this document...


HUMAN GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT Critically examine the idea of 'the stages of development' and its impact on professional practice with reference to: infancy and childhood. The idea of the 'stages of development' stems mainly from the work of developmental psychologists such as Piaget, Vygotsky and Freud, all who claim that development takes place in a series of distinct stages which end following adolescence. Runyan (1978, cited in Sugarman, 1986:2), in line with Erikson, takes this one step further and considers development to be a phenomenon which spans the whole of the life course, defining 'life course' as: the sequence of events and experiences in a life from birth until death, and the chain of personal states and encountered situations which influence, and are influenced by this sequence of events. The importance of both the person and the environment and their interaction is emphasised here and, unlike some earlier research, this definition does not presume irreversibility. Life span development, however, cannot be explained in terms of a single theory, and although guided by theory, it is presumed to be a '...general perspective or orientation encompassing some generally agreed views' (Sugarman, 1986:2). Theories of childhood are hugely dominant within, and inform, education, social work practice, health, and the media. However, the current dominant approach to understanding early socio-emotional and personality development is attachment theory (Thompson, 2000). The psychiatrist, John Bowlby, originally formulated the concept of attachment theory and asserted that attachments to others are instinctive or 'innate', and are important throughout the life span (Kagan, 1984). This study will examine the concept of attachment, its impact on the development of the infant and the relevance of good early attachments for later healthy functioning. Encompassed within this will be an examination of the nature of resilience and individual differences in attachment behaviours. The contribution of attachment theory within professional practice will also be considered throughout, along with critical analyses from feminist, Eurocentric and social constructionist perspectives. ...read more.


studied Romanian orphans adopted in the UK and found that a later adoption age led to slower progress, thus concluding that a longer experience of privation can result in a longer recovery period. Rutter (1981) concluded that delinquency and disturbance were most commonly found in children who had been reared in unhappy homes, regardless of whether the home was 'broken' or whether the children had suffered from maternal deprivation. He argued that the juveniles that Bowlby had used in his study had never been looked after by their families and that nothing had been taken away from them, therefore they could not be seen as 'deprived'. Rutter (ibid) also pointed out that Bowlby's theory denies the opportunity to reverse the effect of negative early experiences, equally feeling that positive experiences in early life do not necessarily protect a child from later emotional damage (cited in Crawford & Walker, 2007). Indeed, Bowlby's theories of attachment and maternal deprivation have been criticised on a number of levels. His methodology is questionable in terms of unrepresentative samples and the use of a retrospective case study method. The concept of 'monotropy' has also been questioned as to its cultural validity. Does attachment theory apply universally because it is an innate concept or is it culturally bound? Generalisations about 'ideal' attachment behaviour or patterns tend to be made in a Eurocentric context. Studies conducted on infants in Northern Germany, Japan and those in Kibbutz care in Israel found that attachment theory could not be reliably applied cross culturally (Goldberg, 2000). Grossman et al (1985 cited in Goldberg, 2000) found that German mothers value early independence and hence see avoidant attachment as the 'ideal' rather than the universally accepted preference for secure attachment patterns. In theory German parents like to keep a greater parental distance than American parents, preferring a child who obeys and does not question. Research has found that there is no evidence that the larger number of anxious/avoidant German children is because German mothers are unresponsive, indifferent or insensitive but rather they merely value and thus nurture, independent children. ...read more.


Recognising that secure attachment relationships are a huge contributor enabling people to explore the world during all stages of life, but also appreciating the adaptability and flexibility of the human being to adjust to different circumstances is necessary. The evidence reviewed here has found mixed results despite seeming to suggest that a secure attachment during infancy is more likely to produce positive later outcomes. However, consistently the research questions whether later outcomes are actually the result of a secure infant attachment relationship, or whether they are related to other variables such as infant temperament and stable family and environmental circumstances, including the emotional availability and mental health of the mother. Overall, the evidence seems to be that whilst the attachment bond during infancy is important, it is not realistic to view it as 'crucial' for later outcomes. Clarke and Clarke (2000:103), state that: one must take account of the ever greater number of factors known to be relevant over and above early experience itself. Subsequent influences can modulate the earlier effects; we know that early experience does not have a dominant role on its own and that reversal may be feasible. They summarise (2000:105) succinctly by stating that 'theories ascribing overwhelming, disproportionate and pre-deterministic importance to the early years are clearly erroneous'. Similarly, Bronfenbrenner (1977; 1983, cited in Clarke and Clarke, 2000) advocates looking at the wider context and inter-relationships within society in general. We must conclude then that it is not just the early years, but lifelong experiences and interactions of these experiences, including major life transitions and how these are dealt with that contribute towards the development of the whole person. Again we must reflect on Runyan's (1978, cited in Sugarman, 1986:2) statement on the importance of the whole life span, along with giving due consideration to both individual and environmental factors which influence, predict and determine the outcome of the person, be that during infancy, adolescence, adulthood or old age. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Social Work section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Social Work essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Inter-professional Practice and Safeguarding Children

    4 star(s)

    In 2003, the Laming report investigated the death of Victoria Climbie. This report made a number of recommendations that led to the publication of Every Child Matters. Laming (2003) concluded that children's needs were being neglected or overlooked through lack of ?joined-up? working, poor systems for information sharing and too great a reliance on professional and agency boundaries.

  2. Analyse an intervention that took place on your first practice placement

    needed when applying systems theory. During this process Shane managed to disassociate himself from his peers and his mum was overjoyed by the change in his character. I found that I used my communication skills well in order to achieve this outcome with Shane.

  1. Critically consider the argument for and against social work practice being based on research ...

    the wrath of the managers in terms of research will obviously not see the light of day with the practitioner. What EBP is saying is that practitioners could cut their coat of client accordingly to their size, when in reality by reason of resources, new managerialism, agency regulations, the practitioner

  2. Juvenile Delinquency

    increase in drug-related offences, and the marked growth in female juvenile delinquency. The financial crisis that hit some of the Asian countries in the late 1990s created economic stagnation and contraction, leading to large-scale youth unemployment. For a lot of young people, this meant a loss of identity and the opportunity for self-actualization.

  1. Describe a therapeutic approach of your choice in terms of key concepts and therapeutic ...

    A two-way account of the therapeutic process contributes to the structuring of relations that challenge the marginalisation of the identities of persons who consult therapists, that challenge the construction of 'otherness' (White, 1997, p. 131) Therapists are trained in expert views and may easily fall into the trap of believing

  2. Nepotism - research project

    major operational obstacles to economic and social development in most black African states. According to Mazrui A.A.(1986:170), "nepotism in Africa is often a symbol of cultures in transition. Politics in Africa, for example, are sometimes to keep clean, merely because people are moving from one set of values to another.

  1. Critically examine the impact that living with domestic violence can have upon children. What ...

    These factors include: age, gender, race, socio-economic status, position in family, disability, sexuality, quality of relationship with primary care giver and siblings, length, frequency and form of violence and children's individual coping and survival strategies. Hester et al (2000) further highlight that "pre-school children are more likely to have physical

  2. Unit K/601/7629 Professional Organisational Issues In counselling assignment

    Counselling Psychology Division of the British Psychological Society (BPS) Confederation of Scottish Counselling Agencies (COSCA) Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP) These major professional organizations all stress these ethical concerns: 1. Client Safety 2. Professional Competence and Fitness to Practice 3. Respect for Differences in Lifestyles and Beliefs between Clients 4.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work