Developmental Psychology

Topics: Developmental psychology, Psychology, Sociology Pages: 11 (3249 words) Published: September 12, 2013
Write an essay in response to the following statement:
Given that we all experience our lives differently, can normative development exist?
Your essay should include:
• clear articulation of the essay topic, your position on the topic and your argument • an analysis and critique of the concept of healthy human development • reference to relevant literature, with a minimum of ten references drawn especially from your textbook and readings, as well as from other appropriate academic sources.

Implications of the theory of normative development have been widely debated and continue to be so as the concept has been noted as obscure and difficult to decipher. It has been argued that the idea of normative growth can categorise people, marginalising those who may not fit into a particular normative criteria or way of being that is accepted as the ‘norm’ for their society (McInerney & McInerney, 2010). This essay, however, will argue that normative development can and does exist, although must be measured and studied whilst considering the individual sense of self, and the cultural and environmental context and social spheres of which the individual belongs to (Bandura 2000, as cited in Sigleman and Rider, 2012). Focusing on adolescent development and analysing their social competence, this essay will consider the developmental theories of Bandura, Kohlberg, Piaget and Vygotsky, using comparative studies of one’s relational interactions in reflection of normative growth and as essential influences upon their maturing personalities.

Normative development has one common factor, that being the common factor of each person being a part of humanity (human nature) (Bandura, 2002). However, varying common factors that hold influence over normative development, and how it is defined, Hayes (2007) suggests fall under the acronym ADDRESSING: defined as “Age, Developmental and acquired disabilities, Religion, Ethnicity, Socioeconomic status, Sexual orientation, Indigenous Heritage and Gender.” (Egan 2010, p.49). There is therefore as much influence and significance in determining one’s normative development by looking at one’s personal, social and cultural contexts, as is the subcultures that they belong to (Bandura, 2002). As theorist Satel suggests, “It is about individuals and their infinite complexities (Satel p.A14 as cited in Egan 2010, p.50)

Though normative development can be considered by categorising and noting familiar clustered characteristics, we must also note the diversity and complexities when considering the individuality that lay within these homogenous characteristics (Egan, 2010). In order to acknowledge normative development, one must consider the culture, values and attitude one is subject to, to be able to note social competence and awareness. (Pope-Davis, Coleman, Liu and Toporek, 2004 as cited in Egan 2010). By distinguishing the unique social differences, we can more closely determine and identify what effective normative growth and outcome is for that individual (Bandura, 2002).

Adolescence is a period of abstract growth and social interaction, where inter-relational networks are intensifying and expanding beyond the customary family and peer domains (Call and Mortimer, 2001). It is defined as the transitional period of a child’s developmental maturation of competencies that are characteristics necessary for responsible adulthood (Sigleman and Rider, 2012) An adolescent’s various social spheres present differing social relations, experiences with the potential to influence their sense of self and developmental growth both normatively and non-normatively (Call and Mortimer, 2001). For contemporary theorists, understanding the exact points of adolescent maturation are constantly being questioned and changing, as is the understanding and definition of it’s normative development, and the question as to whether it does exist at all (Peterson, 2010).

The Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology refers to one...
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