OCC1032 - Development across the lifespan - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

Department of Occupational Therapy


Dr Nikos Thomacos

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2017 (Day)


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.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should 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.


  • Report from observation of a child (1,500 words) (25%)
  • Essay on the relationship between development, and functioning at specific life stages (2,500 words) (30%)
  • Short and long answer exam (Multiple choice) (2.5 hours) (45%)


  • Attendance at 80% of unit tutorials, practical skills sessions and seminars is required to pass this unit.
  • Students must also participate in the class data collection exercise.

Workload requirements

Lecture component: 2 hours per week, Tutorial/Practicum component: 2 hours per week, Private study: 4 hours per week.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study