Online Companion: Health Assessment and Physical Examination, 3E

Chapter 4 Developmental Assessment

What key developmental tasks should an infant demonstrate?

The major developmental tasks an infant (birth to 1 year) should demonstrate include object permanence, weaning, and trust. According to Piaget's (1952) cognitive stages, the infant is in the sensorimotor stage. During this stage, the infant begins to acquire language. The infant is in the oral stage of Freud's psychoanalytic theory. During this stage, the infant derives pleasure from exploring with his or her mouth and through sucking. Freud's theory can be used to explain why infants frequently put objects in their mouths. The infant is in the trust versus mistrust stage of Erikson's psychosocial theory. During this stage, the infant learns to trust.

What key developmental tasks should a toddler demonstrate?

The major developmental tasks a toddler (ages 1 to 3 years) demonstrates include the beginning use of language to communicate, toilet training, imitation, autonomy, and self-control. The toddler is in the sensorimotor and preoperational stages of Piaget's (1952) theory. During these stages, toddlers use language and images to think and communicate with the world around them. The toddler is in the anal stage of Freud's (1946) psychoanalytical theory. The primary task during this stage is focused on control of elimination and toilet training. The toddler is in Erikson's (1974) stage of autonomy versus shame and doubt. During this stage, the toddler learns autonomy, imitation, and how to exhibit self-control and will power. The toddler is in the preconventional level, morality stage of Kohlberg's (1981) theory of moral judgment. During this stage, the toddler learns how to avoid punishment by not breaking the rules.

What are the key developmental tasks of preschoolers?

During the preschooler period (3 to 6 years), children are focused on developing initiative and purpose. Play provides the means for physical, mental, and social development and becomes the “work” of children as they use it to understand, adjust to, and work out experiences with their environment. Preschoolers demonstrate an active imagination and an ability to invent and imitate. They constantly seek to discover the why, what, and how of objects and events around them, are literal in their thinking, are increasingly sociable with other children and adults other than their parents, and are increasingly aware of their places and roles in their families.

What are the key developmental tasks for a school-age child?

A young school-age child is in Piaget's (1952) preoperational stage, whereas an older school-age child (ages 7 to 12) is in the concrete operations stage. The child in the concrete operations stage is beginning to learn inductive reasoning and concrete problem solving. Freud's (1946) psychoanalytical theory places the school-age child in the latency stage. During this stage, children identify with their same-sex parent and begin to compare their abilities with their peers. Erikson's (1974) psychosocial theory places the school-age child in the stage of industry versus inferiority. The primary tasks the child faces during this stage are developing industry (sense of productivity), self-assurance, and self-esteem. The school-age child is in the conventional level, mutual expectations, relationships, and conformity to moral norms stage of Kohlberg's moral judgment theory. The child places emphasis on "the need to be good" and believes in adhering to rules and regulations.

What key developmental tasks do adolescents face?

The adolescent period is one of struggle and sometimes turmoil as the adolescent strives to develop a personal identity and achieve a successful transition from childhood to adulthood. Physical and sexual maturity are reached during adolescence, with girls tending to experience both puberty and a growth spurt earlier than boys. In addition, adolescents develop increasingly sophisticated cognitive and interpersonal skills, test out adult roles and behaviors, and begin to explore educational and occupational opportunities that will significantly influence future adult work life and socioeconomic status.

What are the key developmental tasks of young adults?

Young adulthood is a time of separation and independence from the family and of new commitments, responsibilities, and accountability in social, work, and home relationships and roles. It is also a period when individuals are exposed to more diverse people, situations, and values and, in recent decades, to a more rapidly changing socioeconomic and technological environment than ever before. Socioeconomic and cultural changes have also legitimized the entry of young adult women into the professional career workforce.

What are key developmental tasks for early middle adulthood?

Middle age, spanning the ages of 30 to 70 years, is the longest stage of the life cycle and is now often divided into early and late middle adulthood. During early middle adulthood, individuals experience relatively good physical and mental health; settle into their chosen careers, socioeconomic lifestyles, patterns of relationships (married, parental, partnered, single), political, civic, social, professional, and religious affiliations and activities; and achieve maximum productivity in work and in influence over themselves and their environments. It is also a period when individuals experience a need to contribute to the next generation; to raise children or produce something that will be socially useful to others.

What are key developmental tasks of late middle adulthood?

Many individuals during late middle adulthood may be diagnosed for the first time with a chronic health problem, such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, or asthma. In addition, women generally experience a decrease in estrogen and progesterone production and undergo menopause during their late 40s or early 50s. Changes also occur during late middle adulthood in work, family, social, and civic areas. The nuclear family contracts, and parents rediscover being a couple and may acquire new roles such as becoming grandparents.

What are key developmental tasks of late adulthood?

How individuals during late adulthood physically and emotionally age and how they confront and adjust to the changes associated with this stage are widely divergent. For those who have achieved the developmental tasks of middle adulthood and are comfortable with the life goals they have achieved, independence from the workplace and time to pursue more leisure activities are welcomed. Although a loss of work-related status and social outlets, reduced income, decline in physical and some cognitive capabilities, decreased resistance to illness, and decreased recuperative powers are inevitable during late adulthood, they are often adjusted to with equanimity.