Life Course Theory Analysis

970 words - 4 pages

Life course development theory involves the study of growth and adaption from birth to death. The studies look into how lives develop through time and investigating the effects of change. Many limitations present in the field of human development years ago inspired changes to the studies involving the models of development specifically focusing on child development and that didn’t relate to a developing organism in adult stages. This theory takes into account factors like cohort effects, the individual’s location (which can effect issues like obtaining an education), and transitions and life events. Life course development theory also holds the idea that individual differences, biological, ...view middle of the document...

For example, in my research area of at-risk youth, issues like poverty, failure to graduate high school, divorce risk, and even criminal activity are all topics that extend into adulthood and impact development. Many people look at the cohort effect to compare youth in today’s cohort to previous ones where social, economical, and political factors were different. It is a common belief that in today’s society, the seemingly increased number of at-risk youth is attributed to changes in beliefs about family when it comes to marriage (increase in out-of-wedlock births), single-parent homes, and changes in family dynamics especially relating to parental involvement and discipline.
My research and career interest is at-risk youth so the life course development theory is useful in both research and practice. Many research studies focus only on a small frame of development and usually don’t extend throughout the individual’s life. In the area of at-risk youth, it poses the question of how these risk factors that they experience can influence them throughout their life, especially late into adulthood. Through practice, focusing on research that follows the life course development theory would be beneficial especially when creating or modifying intervention programs with the goal of reducing or limiting these issues. Furthermore, because life course development theory examines how certain elements like timing, plasticity, and stability and instability, it offers a wide area to examine how development might occur between childhood and adulthood with children with these risk factors. Studying the area of at-risk youth using the idea of life course development theory would also be a great comparison to make with youth who live in a more ideal environment (not impoverished, two-parent home, etc). Comparing these groups to other cohorts if enough research was conducted would also provide more information about time and place. For instance, in earlier cohorts it was uncommon to see single parent...

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