developmental psychology

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a case study and therefore requires you to apply theory to an example.

The purpose of this case study is to integrate the understanding of two developmental theories with a practical example. Within this integration is an identification, analysis and evaluation of major life themes with the inclusion of strengths and challenges faced by a fictional character.

Select a character presented in a book, television or film at a major life transition (leaving home, wedding, parenthood, retirement) and briefly summarise the context in which the character becomes known.

Often getting started on this assignment is the difficult bit, so here are some suggestions to help.

Pick a character from a movie that really interests / fascinates you.

A few examples are below. If you Google things such as; 1) films all psychology students

should watch or 2) movies that relate to life transitions or lifespan development you will
start to see many examples that may stimulate your own choice


• “Finding Nemo” and reaction to fathers overprotection in regards to Erikson’s Psychosocial stages

• “American Beauty” and different characters in regards to Erikson’s Psychosocial stages or mid life crisis

• “Grumpy old Men”, “Cocoon”, “Space Cowboy” and theories of ageing

• “Good Will Hunting” and application of counselling to adolescence and relationships

• “Thelma and Louise” and life transition

• “The Sixth Sense” and theories of death and dying

• ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral” etc etc

Write a case study that summarises the major life themes identified in the film, and apply theories of development to analyse the;

• life stage,

• the strengths and challenges faced by the character,

Use sub headings to structure you case study that relate to the requirements and marking criteria.
Using two developmental theories presented in this unit

These include;
– Exploring the lifespan
– Physical development and psychoanalytic theories of development
– Behavioural learning and systems theories of development
– Cognitive theories of development
– Attachment and socio-emotional theories of development
– Social cognition and moral theories of development
– The self and personality theories of development
– Theories of intelligence and creativity
– Theories of aging, grief, death and dying
– Applications over lifespan.

The text book for a least one reference should be;
Sigelman, C.K., Rider, E.A., & De George- Walker, L. (2016). Lifespan human development (2nd Australian / New Zealand ed). South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning.
Your Case Study will need to address:

• Case study written and is inclusive of the naming of major life themes in the chosen source

Summarise lifespan development and clearly indicate the life themes that relate to the character you choose

• Identification of the chosen character with a brief summary of the context in which
the character is introduced

Summarise for the reader (me the marker) the context of the characters story

• Identification of key aspects of each of the two major developmental theories and
application of these theories to an analysis of the life stages of the character, including the strengths and challenges faced by the character

Similar to above ensure you explain both ‘life change’ as well as ‘strengths’ and

• Reference to current literature and integration of relevant theory into your discussion

Possible Structure

• Introduction

• Definition of life span development

• Character chosen, context and life themes identified

• Overview of 2 development theories

• Application of theory 1 – life change, strengths, challenges

• Application of theory 2 – life change, strength, challenges

• Conclusion
Information about the writing of Case Studies

A case study:

• should provide a description of a particular subject such as a practice, problem, scenario or situation

• is often based on a person or organisation

• provides an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to apply theory to practice

• should critically analyse, evaluate or review the subject using the relevant theory

• may be given to you in the assignment question, or you may need to develop your own case scenario

Referencing should completed throughout the case study – whenever speaking of theories or research as well as n a reference list

I can send through the marking guide if required

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