Human Development | Sample Essay of Social Science


There are four developmental periods in one’s life. These are infancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood. There are various changes and experiences associated with these developmental periods. Every stage has its own set of milestones and challenges for the human being. The purpose of the essay is to select a developmental period in one’s own life and analyse it with reference to different theorists in developmental psychology. The developmental period is adolescence as it is during this period that I have realised many changes inside and outside me. This was a learning period for me as I was no more a child and started feeling responsible towards life. There are various adolescence theories that explain this developmental stage in different views.

An overview of your selected developmental period ‐ please discuss the key events or milestones experienced at this time.

Adolescence is a crucial developmental stage in one’s life. It is the phase of life between childhood and adulthood. Adolescence is from ages 10 to 19 and at this stage, one experiences many changes in his life physically, cognitive and psychosocial. This affects how an individual feels, thinks, interacts and makes decisions with the world (Davidow,  Insel & Somerville, 2018).  During this development stage, one gets mature physically and normally completes puberty as well. There are changes in the size, shape and weight of the body. However, adolescence is also accompanied by problems like eating disorders. There is a development of a unique personality and interests within the people. This time encourages the individual to have a vision and outlook for a bright future (Larsen & Luna, 2018). At this development stage, the focus is on preparing for getting freedom and responsibility. Teenagers start working at this stage and many of them also leave home to study in overseas countries.

Certain key events experienced at this time are as follows.

  • Physical development: During this stage, there are many physical changes happening throughout the body. There is a growth spurt which occurs as the teenager approaches puberty. There is development of sexual organs like breasts, pubic hair etc (Titzmann & Lee, 2018). There are changes in the height and weight of the person during this development stage.
  • Cognitive development: There are cognitive developments as well during this stage. The ability of the brain to think, learn and memorise increases. Children during this stage start focussing on themselves and also understanding what can be done to have impact in the long-term. Kids during this stage understand different types of issues and make efforts to get the information to evaluate it.
  • Emotional and social development: during this development stage, there is a high urge among the adolescents to be independent. Children at this stage start to trust their friends more than their parents (Titzmann & Lee, 2018). However, family support is critical for adolescents as they are at a very crucial phase of their life. The fluctuations during this stage are many that result in negative influences as well if proper support is not given.
  • Sensory and motor development: During this development stage, the kids can start getting weird or clumsy. It is crucial for the adolescents to do a little exercise during this stage so that their mind can be healthy.

These are some of the events that happen in individuals during adolescence.
A discussion of the key aspects of each of the theories you have chosen to discuss an analysis of the period you have selected in light of each of the two theories

Freud’s theory of psychosexual development.

The first theory which is considered to discuss an analysis of the adolescent period is Freud’s theory of psychosexual development. This theory indicates that adolescence is a stage of being fraught with a lot of internal struggle (Vijayakumar et al. 2018). As per Frued, personality development in childhood takes place during five psychosexual stages. These stages are oral, anal, phallic, latency and genital. At every stage, sexual energy is expressed in different ways and different parts. In the five stages, adolescence is the last stage known as genitalia where there is a transition from puberty to adulthood. Adolescent, as per Frued is the stage which starts in puberty. It is a time of adolescent sexual experimentation.  The time when there is a successful resolution of which settles down in a one to one relationship with another person usually during their 20s (Vijayakumar et al. 2018). There is a sexual instinct which is directed into a pleasure and resulting in heterosexual intercourse. There are factors like fixation and conflict that can prevent this results in sexual perversions. For instance, fixation can result in an individual having pleasure from kissing and oral sex and not indulging in sexual intercourse.

As per various scholars, it has been argued that Freud’s theory is not efficient at predicting behaviour (Davidow, Insel & Somerville, 2018). It is due to this that his theory cannot be considered for proper analysis of different development stages. For instance, the libido cannot be tested or measured so the theory is unscientific. Freud theory has overlooked the information and other explanations that did not suit them.  Hence, it should be noted that there is a need to consider another strong theory for the analysis of adolescence developmental stages.

Marcia’s theory of identity achievement

The second theory which is considered is Marcia’s theory of identity achievement.  This theory has contradicted the notion of adolescence as a time of crisis. As per Marcia, adolescent identity formation has two key parts. One is a crisis and the other is commitment (Davidow, Insel & Somerville, 2018). During the adolescence stage, there is a lot of trauma resulting from different difficult decisions regarding identity and moving through different identity statuses. These four identity statuses include identity diffusion, foreclosure, moratorium and identity achievement. As per Marcia’s theory, Adolescents are usually at the identity diffusion stage when compared to the identity achievement stage. His theory also indicates that a majority of young adults do not achieve their highest level of identity in their mid 20s. This indicates that identity formation is likely to take place, which is also explained by Marcia in her theory (Titzmann & Lee, 2018). There is evidence suggesting that this search for identity is acquired across the entire life. There are various periods of stability and instability throughout life, which means that there can be turmoil at adolescence development stages like adulthood.

Following this analysis and discussion, write a reflection on your personal responses and experiences in relation to the significant period in your own life.

My adolescence has been a roller coaster ride for me. I had experienced a growth spurt when I was 11 years old.  This was not a difficult time for me as I realised many new things during this developmental stage. This is due to the fact I learnt a lot during this period from my surroundings. Like others, I went through a lot of development changes during this time. For instance, my appearance changed and my personality got better. Following this, there was a change in my weight, size and shape which positively influenced me. I started to look much better and bigger. I realised that I am no longer a child and it’s time I realise my responsibilities. However, my adolescence has been a significant period for me since I made many new relationships and friends. I started to observe people and things around me so that I could make an opinion about myself. Unlike other adolescents around me, I did not take up sports as I did not like physical activities. However, I indulged in creative activities like reading and arts as these activities helped me have a soothing feeling about myself. I even started to know about dating applications and logged into a few of them to experience them. However, I realised during this period that my sibling is a blessing for me as I started to spend more time with him. I have a brother who is 3 years younger than me. Due to less gap between our ages, we could share our feelings with each other. However, I also realised that this period could help me learn things which can be with me for my future.


To conclude, it can be indicated that adolescence can be considered as a time when an individual has to go through a lot of psychological, physical, and cognitive changes. There are various adolescence theories of development that analyse this developmental stage differently. Adolescents move ahead to develop a better future for themselves. However, there can be many unethical activities that adolescents take up including criminal activities, suicides, drugs etc. It is due to this that this developmental stage is considered to be disruptive and being out of control. However, this is a crucial stage wherein kids learn a lot and realise many things for a better life ahead. I have also presented my reflective account of my adolescence in this report. My adolescence has been extremely crucial for my life as it has helped me understand new things with a focus.


Davidow, J. Y., Insel, C., & Somerville, L. H. (2018). Adolescent development of value-guided goal pursuit. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 22(8), 725-736.

Larsen, B., & Luna, B. (2018). Adolescence as a neurobiological critical period for the development of higher-order cognition. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 94, 179-195.

Titzmann, P. F., & Lee, R. M. (2018). Adaptation of young immigrants. European Psychologist

Vijayakumar, N., de Macks, Z. O., Shirtcliff, E. A., & Pfeifer, J. H. (2018). Puberty and the human brain: insights into adolescent development. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 92, 417-436.