Sample Psychology Paper on Life Transition Autobiography

Each student will write a term paper using APA style for cover page, margins, organization, and references.  Your paper will demonstrate your knowledge of the major developmental constructs through the stages of early childhood, middle childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, middle adulthood, and late adulthood as they apply to you as well as your understanding of the major theories discussed in class.  Also included will be a consideration of the impact of crisis and trauma on development. In parts of this paper, students may choose to describe events or stages of development that they have yet to experience. In these cases, students should make hypotheses regarding the possible content of a stage or how a certain event could potentially impact their development or may have impacted development differently. You can use these examples to strengthen various aspects of your paper for which you may have less lived experience. For example:

  1. The traumatic event of September 11, 2001 may have had a significant developmental impact on an individual, but this impact may have had different implications for individuals in various developmental stages. How might you have experienced this event differently had you been in early childhood or near the end of life? How might an event like being diagnosed with cancer impact a person who is 90 years of age differently than a person who is 14 years of age?
  2. “As a person who has not yet reached late adulthood, I view that stage in a certain way, with specific excitements and fears. I imagine that some of these views may change and others may not as I approach that stage of life.” ~ It would be fine to discuss this stage from this context.
  3. You may also want to interview family members to gain information about your own development that you may not be able to recall.

Explore your development through the following developmental stages: Infancy and Early Childhood, ages 0-5; Middle Childhood, ages 6-11; Adolescence, ages 12-20; Early Adulthood, ages 21-39; Middle Adulthood, ages 40-65; Late Adulthood, age 65 and above. (As chronological age ranges are arbitrary boundaries, some exploration outside these ranges is appropriate if relevant.)

As you discuss each phase, consider major influences (e.g., individuals, family/sibling constellation, personal responsibilities and family roles, institutions, circumstances, cultural influences), critical incidents, role models (e.g., at school, at home, in extended family, in neighborhood/community), and “nodal” life events (e.g., moves, injuries, illness, death of someone close, changes/losses, “success”, “failures”).

Describe at least two life transitions. These may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Transition from preschool activities to elementary school
  • Transition from high school to work or college
  • Transition from late adolescent roles to early adult roles
  • Transition from working roles (e.g., career, family responsibilities) to retiring from working roles

Incorporate two developmental theories (e.g., cognitive-developmental, sociocultural, relational cultural), with appropriate citations. Consider the following questions in your effort, summarizing what you’ve learned:

  1. Keeping in mind that “typical” is a social construction, what aspects of your life represent typical development in each phase, according to the theories you chose?
  2. In each phase, what evidence shows that you were moving forward, “on hold”, or “stuck” in regard to developmental tasks?
  3. What were some challenges or problems you faced that were related to developmental issues and that, if you accessed counseling, could have been alleviated or lessened?
  4. What kinds of counseling interventions might have been helpful for you?
  5. What relational patterns and cultural contexts have advanced or impeded your development?
  6. Where are you now, developmentally? (In what phases(s) or stage, according to theorists? Are you “stuck”?)

Questions you may ask yourself to promote exploration:

  1. What was the easiest age (or ages) for you? How come?
  2. What were the most difficult ages for you? What made that time period difficult?
  3. What were some questions, feelings, or concerns you had during each phase or during the most difficult phase?
  4. What individuals, groups or agencies helped or hindered your development?
  5. What prevented (or might have prevented) you from receiving some intervention to address your feelings and concerns? Or, if you experienced some sort of intervention, what kind was it?
  6. If you could go back and traverse a particular age or phase again, which would it be, and what would you do differently?

Describe two culturally-relevant interventions to address each of the two life transitions that you described. Consider your social location and the access you might have had to counseling within or outside a school setting. Drawing upon your learning in this course, these may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Education
  • Primary prevention (a.k.a. Tier 1 interventions)
  • Secondary prevention (Tier 2)
  • Tertiary prevention (Tier 3)

Please incorporate a minimum of two references into your work beyond the course text. This autobiography should conform to APA Style guidelines, which can be found in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.; APA, 2020). Kindly limit your autobiography to 7-8 double-spaced pages.

This assignment will be reviewed via Turnitin so that you have a report of your paper’s similarity to other published and unpublished work and can make revisions if needed.

Kuther, T. (2022). Lifespan development:  Lives in context (3rd ed.). Sage.