The findings suggest that life development is multi-facet. A reflexive analysis reviews some limitation on this analysis and recommendations are also made. INTRODUCTION Lifespan development is the one among different psychological perspectives. Psychologists are of different views on human development. Some of them split human development into different stages, some of them focus on the peoples later development, some are optimistic but some not, and some opined that our development are deterministic but also some do not think so.
Erik Erikson has developed a theory named as Psychosocial in which he stated that there would be eight development stages from birth to later adulthood within our life. (Cooper & Roth, 2002). The theory emphasised that our development is a product of the interaction between the society and individual; and our parents seems to play a key role in our early life. Erikson argued that everyone must develop throughout these eight stages. While treating later life as a relative stable period, Erikson neglect the room of change during the middle and old stages, to cope with this difficulty, Peck further subdivided these two stages into sub-stages.
For middle age, Peck consider that we should acknowledge our loss of physical strength while also appreciate our gaining of wisdom, the main task within these stage is to redefine ones personality and personal relationship. Besides, individual should shift their emotional attachment to both the vertical and horizontal relationship, i. e. the death of parents and friendship (Cooper & Roth, 2002). For old age, in order to cater the crisis of retirement, Peck argued that individual need to seek other meaningful activities, thus accepted by themselves that they are continually contribute to and valued by the society.
Other approach on lifespan development is named as developmental contextualism. It emphasised that development of an individual cannot be seen as an isolated manner, rather, there are internal (e. g. physical fitness) and external (e. g. cultural and social) factors that influences ones development. These factors are referred as a level of explanation by psychologists, they comprise different variables, for instances, interpersonal influence, cultural influence, historical influence and etc.
These variables would interact and change each other at the same or a different level of explanation which is known as dynamic interactionism. (Cooper & Roth, 2002) In contrast to developmental contextualism, Bronfenbrenner is of different view. He argued that individuals are capable to determine their own development rather than simply constrained by internal and external influences. In his ecological theory of development, he suggested that individuals are actively interact with his or her environment during their development.
According to the theory, it divided individual physical environment into four parts, i. e. micosystem, mesosystem, exosystem and macrosystem as well. The microsystem refers to ones immediate environment, includes social, symbolic and physical characteristics, e. g. personality, healths, values and expectations.
The mesosystem describes two or more microsystems inhabited by the same person, e. g. family, work and marriage. Links that take place between two or more settings involving the individual is known as the exosystem, i. e. our community. The macrosystem illustrates the patterns of the aforesaid systems that characterize any given culture or society structures. (Cooper & Roth, 2002) In view of the above approaches, it seems that human development are encompassed by different stages, with internal and external influences; and individuals are with ability to actively change it during the process of development. The purpose of this qualitative research is to see how a couple, Tony and Jo experienced their life and what influence to their development indeed.
METHOD Three semi-structured interviews were conducted of a (an aging) couple, Tony and Jo. There is no information on the exact ages of the stakeholders, including the interviewees and the three interviewers. For teaching purposes, the process of the interviews were videotaped with the interviewees consent. The interviews touch topics of identity, separation and attachment and lifespan development. The first interview was conducted by a female researcher Jane who knew that couple for several years.
A male researcher has conducted the second interview who knew none about that couple. The last interviewer was a female who asked them about their experiences on the first two interviews. The research was adopted analysing pre-existing materials. It assumed that the Open University of United Kingdom (OUUK) adhered strictly to the British psychological code of ethics such as obtaining informed written consent, addressing issues around confidentiality, protection of participants identities, permission to withdraw at any time and sufficient debriefing.
(Miell, Phoenix & Thomas, 2002). I am a Chinese male, a part-time psychology student (36 years of age) of the Open University of Hong Kong, and carried out a qualitative thematic analysis on transcripts and video provided by the OUUK. (see Appendix for the full annotated transcripts and an extracted video of the three interviews is also attached) The lifespan development research topic and question were selected and supplied by the OUUK (DSE 212, Method Booklet 5, pages 60 and 61).
Familiarization of material was done by reading Chapter 1 in Book 2 (Cooper & Roth, 2002). The next stage of the analysis involved my reading the transcripts several times noting significant points related to my chosen research topic. I then identified recurrent themes from the transcripts. Two main themes were identified and the data was condensed under these themes. This was achieved by photocopying the transcripts and highlighting each bit of the dialogue relating to the themes in different colour pens. Only the first two interviews were used in this research.