Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2012 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
OfferedPeninsula Second semester 2012 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Nikos Thomacos


Development across the lifespan examines how individuals change and develop as they age - from infancy to old age. This unit explores the psychological and occupational processes inherent in development, and in doing so examines the progressive cognitive, emotional, behavioural, psychosocial and occupational changes that occur with age. A broad range of topics are covered by this unit, including: attachment, motor skill and other psycho-physiological developmental processes, problem solving, language acquisition, moral understanding and abstract thought, identify development and formation, and the nature and course of both intimate and diffuse relationships.


On completion of the unit students will be able to:

  1. Articulate and contrast contemporary developmental lifespan psychological and occupational concepts, theories and research;
  2. Identify and discuss the main approaches and debates within developmental lifespan research; in particular, how the nature versus nurture debate is a consistent theme;
  3. Identify and discuss the physical, cognitive, emotional, behavioural, social and occupational aspects inherent in development across the lifespan, as well as some of the key inherent and external influences on development;
  4. Analyse childhood occupations based on observation;
  5. Explain challenges common to adolescence and other lifespan transition points, and ways to deal with them;
  6. Explain the changes that can occur in early and middle adulthood and consider how these changes individuals' cognitive, emotional and occupational functioning and psychosocial wellbeing;
  7. Identify and discuss the effects of physiological change and life experience on older adults' cognitive, emotional and occupational functioning and psychosocial wellbeing; and,
  8. Identify and describe types of research frameworks and approaches to data analysis applied in contemporary developmental lifespan research.


Hurdle requirement:
Students are required to attend 80% of tutorials. Students must also participate in the class data collection exercise.

Formative assessment:
Feedback during lecture and tutorial participation, as well as following the three summative assessments.

Summative assessment:
Assessment task 1: 1,500 word essay on the relationship between development, and functioning at specific life stages (20%). (Objectives 1-3, 5-7).
Assessment task 2: 1,000 word report from observation of a child (20%) (Objective 4).
Assessment task 3: 1,500 word report on a data set that examines the relationship between age and psychosocial functioning and wellbeing (30%). (Objectives 5-7).
Assessment task 4: A one-hour multiple choice and short answer exam (30%). (Objectives 1-8).

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Nikos Thomacos

Contact hours

2 hour lecture and 2 hour tutorial per week

Off-campus attendance requirements

80% tutorial attendance