From Adolescence to Old Age


Rites of passage from child to adult
Biological, Psychological and Social changes

Piaget - Cognitive & Moral Reasoning

Kohlberg: Seven Stages of moral reasoning

Erik Erikson & Identity Crisis & Life Cycle

Adulthood & Aging
       Biological Development …..
   Cognitive Development
   Memory & forgetting

       Social Development
       Critical points & Life Satisfaction

       Death & Dying

From Adolescence to Old Age

Adolescence - rites of passage

Joseph Campbell - The hero's adventure, letting go to one's childhood dependency and accepting one's adulthood responsibilities (and rights); an adventure!

Biological Development - hormonal morphological and functional (ability) changes occur.

During adolescence boys and girls grow at different rates and during puberty significant physical changes occur.

-Early or late maturation may pose challenges for girls and boys vs. their same aged peers.

Adolescent brain development

Occurs from back to front, from the older areas of the brain to the most evolutionary new areas (i.e. the frontal lobes).
Critique based upon culture by Robert Epstein.


Cognitive Development

Piaget - Cognitive & Moral Reasoning continue to develop to formal operations, having the ability to consider the abstract and hypothetical notion or action

Egocentricity may still be present, but understanding of the arbitrary (constructed) nature of social convention may be the first step beyond the conventional social world.

Kohlberg's (1969) work built on Piaget (1932) and distinguished among six stages of moral reasoning. Each stage is characterised by a distinct form of moral argument or justification in dilemmas.

Three levels of moral reasoning are comprised of the six stages where there are two stages at each level.

Level One is preconventional where self-serving or egocentric reasons are given for what makes an action moral.
    Stages:  1) Punishment & Obedience
                    2) Instrumental Relativism (gain rewards)

Level Two is conventional where social reasons are given, usually with reference to the importance of following the rules or laws.
Stages:  3) Good-Boy, Nice-Girl
                    4) Society Maintaining

Level three is post-conventional where rational beyond the social system or frame-work are given in justification.
 stages: 5) Social Contract
                       6)  Universal Ethics

 E.g., when there is a recognition that social laws are relative or arbitrary and thus not binding or that there are rational principles such as justice, liberty, equality, right to life, golden rule,

Classic Examples: Piaget: child and the broken cookie jar.   ~  Kohlberg: Heinz & the drug Justice  1 2 3

Cultural Critique (Snarey, 1985) found massive cultural differences (others at stage 3) while Miller & Bersoff (1992) found alternative forms of post-conventional reasoning in India -Obligation.

According to Haidt (2000) we act "morally" based upon gut feelings not reasoning.
Thus morality is based upon social intuition.

Carol Gilligan (1982) Criticised Kohlberg's work as being too dominated by masculine view.

Women regularly scored as conventional and more men as post-conventional on Kohlberg's data (Care-based).

Woman Caring for her mother - Move out or care?

Role of Situations? Do actions follow reasoning?

 Parenting Styles may also affect the moral style of the children

Induction- is a method where parents direct attention towards the child's own resources, abilities, sense of responsibility, and feelings for others in correcting misbehaviour.
 Users tend to be authoritative

Power assertion Parent uses punishment and authority to exert control and power in order to correct child’s mis-behaviour.   ––Users tend to be authoritarian.

Reflective Question:

Consider the Robert Latimer Murder Case. Should he have been jailed or free? Why or Why not?

What types of moral argument do you use?

Social Development - Identity & the life Cycle

Erik Erikson built his framework from that of Sigmund Freud ( see personality).

Human development moves through changes at eight 'critical turning points' of the life cycle

Each stage is built upon the previous ones but is not completely dependent upon them through the dialectics of ritualization and ritualism. (see crises)

When the crisis at a given staged is resolved in a healthily and balanced manner the ego-strength (virtue) of that stage emerges. E.g., Trust-Mistrust>Hope

The important features of being human are biological (soma), psychological (psyche), and social (ethos / polis). Thus were are co-constructed by these three worlds of existence.

The PsychoSocial nature of being human was central to Erikson's work where he identified mutuality as a way to describe the ways in which we "inter-live" and our life cycles are "cogwheeling" each other's   interview

While each stage is built upon the previous one, it is possible to reverse back to deal with earlier crises., making this a "soft" stage model rather an than a "hard" model.

Trust vs. Mistrust -> HOPE
Autonomy vs. Shame or Doubt -> WILL
Initiative vs. Guilt -> PURPOSE
Industry vs Inferiority -> COMPETENCE
Identity vs. Diffusion (Role Confusion) -> FIDELITY
Intimacy vs. Isolation -> LOVE
Generativity vs. Stagnation (Self-Absorption)-> CARE
Integrity vs. Despair -> WISDOM

  James Marcia -Ego Identity Achievement

Is there exploration and or commitment to an identity alternative? Four possibilities:















  Marcia's Ego-Identity Status Interview is a tool for assessing one's identity status (style) according to the above framework. This operates across various domains, such as occupation, religion, gender roles, politics, and sexual relations. More recently Tonks has extended this to the domain of ethnicity and culture, specifically for immigrant youth.

Self concept is related to identity, as myers points out it begins early in life as we become self-aware (around age 18 months).

According to William James (1890) our "Self" is includes the aspects of Material (body, clothes and posessions), Social (how we are recognized by others and are part of social groups) and Spiritual (thoughts, ideas and impressions).

Later we will examine self concept with body image (eating disorders) and how culture informs our sense of self and influences our motivations, emotions and social relations.

Social Development Erikson's later stages

Adulthood & Aging

As in Erikson 's model our Biological Development begins to degenerate so do our psychological abilities

Critical points & Life Satisfaction

Love, care and wisdom stand as important virtues of the ego that represent deep sources of satisfaction and fulfillment of one's life-cycle.

As in the earlier stages of human development much of our role is social-love, care, and wisdom represent the riches of the social world. Giving of oneself and passing along one's strengths (or weaknesses) the generations of life keep turning on each other.

However, in our society older people have come to be disrespected, our Elders are not sought for wisdom, they are often left wondering in despair.

Parenting Styles: Generativity

Dianne Baumrind (1966, 1991) Parent styles have impact on the styles of their children.

Authoritarian: Too much power & too little
nurturance, one way communication ->

-children tend to be less socially skilled,
lower self esteem, poor at school.

Permissive/ indulgent: Nurturant but too little control. Don't demand responsible action, inconsistent in administering authority.

-children tend to be impulsive, immature, irresponsible, academically unmotivated.

Authoritative: middle of the road. Set high but reasonable expectations, teach children how to meet them, give emotional support, 2-way communication

-children tend to be self-controlled, high self esteem, self efficacy, independent & cooperative, above average in school, socially mature.

Neglecting or indifferent parents are uninvolved or not caring.  you tube?

Reflective Question:

Consider these styles of parenting along with the styles of attachment covered in the last section.

What (if any) similarities do you see between them? Why do you think this is (not) the case?

  The Later years


We slow down and generally become less strong. Sight and hearing decline, recovery from injury takes longer.

Metabolism slows and weight gain is challenging to avoid.


Memory and Forgetting - elderly can often recognize or match faces & names without free recall.

Alzheimer's Disease - severe form of brain disease that is marked by progressive memory degeneration

Aging Intelligence

R B Cattell

Fluid - a capacity for deductive reasoning & information to solve problems; not due to experience, this declines slowly over time.

Crystallized - knowledge and skills built over a life-time, including culture & education, vocabulary.... With long-term growth can compensate for decline in fluid inteliigence.

Speed - slow; timed tasks show greater decrement

Aging brain cells

Death & Dying

Kubler-Ross - Stages of dealing with death: 1) denial   2) anger   3) bargaining     4) depression     5) acceptance

Near Death Experiences

Tunnel, white light, floating, being pulled back, ....

What does this mean? Hallucination? Soul?