What is the importance of studying life span development (birth to death)? 

Expert Answers
M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Just imagine not studying it. The roadmap to our existence would never be known! 

Life is more than just lungs that breathe in oxygen and a heart that pumps. It is a composite of multiple processes that affect a living creature, both mentally, physically, and even spiritually (although the latter is not part of the study of lifespan development). 

Lifespan development involves the analysis of activities, patterns, and all interactions that take place within the systems and subsystems of the human body. From the cognitive, to the psychosocial, to the biological, it is good to know what humans "are made of;" it helps us predict behaviors, find interventions to common developmental issues, and understand what are the causative factors that bring one stage after the other. 

The complexity of life itself is the primary reason why lifespan development studies deserve a front and center rank in everyone's lives. This is especially particular because life is finite, can end at any moment, and many factors endanger it. Knowing what comes before and after each stage of life is the best way to prepare for what is coming; it is also the best way to live life with dignity, self-care, and purpose. 

Lastly, lifespan development studies apply to more than one field of study, from engineering (our bodies are just like engines of action and thought), to education (development is everything in learning), to psychology, medicine, and much more.  Not knowing what takes place in this complex journey called "life" would be doing ourselves a huge disservice. 

For more info on lifespan development and theories of development look for Jean Piaget, Erik Erikson, Sigmund Freud, and Lawrence Kohlberg.

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is important to study life span development because humans are living longer than ever before, and it is important for psychologists to understand every phase of human growth and development. While psychologists used to focus mainly on childhood as the time of greatest change in a human's life, psychologists now understand that humans continue to grow and change during each phase of their lives. The study of lifespan development emphasizes the idea of plasticity--the concept that people can change during any phase of their lives, and the field gives greater expression to the idea that human growth and development are not limited by time. In addition, the study of lifespan development looks at different factors, social, mental, physical, and emotional, that can affect people at each phase of their lives. This emphasis is important because it helps researchers understand how people can continue to live meaningful lives into older ages and helps researchers understand the multiple factors that affect people at each stage of their lives. 

fernholz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Studying life span development is important for many reasons. If we know about the cognitive, psychosocial, and biological processes of development it will help us understand human growth and development. The processes of development help us figure out about our health too.

It's also important to learn, because it teaches about risk factors affecting fetuses and genetic characteristics. We learn about health habits affecting longevity and how our genetic make-up plays a roll in our health. Knowing life span development helps us learn about mental and physical health issues.

Check out the link below for more information. The following quote is from the link below.

"Adaptation throughout life depends on how each of us negotiates the internal and external factors that enhance or constrain our abilities to reach our full potentials. The essence of life span development is in how we build our strengths to transcend these limitations over time."



readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Like the previous answer stated, there are many reasons to study the lifespan of a people. Reflection will yield more reasons than can be answered in a short post. 

First, from an educational point of view, knowing the development of a child can help enormously in developing academic curricula. For example, there is no use in introducing abstract concepts at an age when children cannot grasp abstract concepts. 

Second, from a medical point of view, especially in that area of prevention, learning the development of a person can be of great value. For example, if a common disease or ailment is common in men in their 40s, then checking men in their 40s for this disease can be an important preventive measure. This can not only save a person's health but also save many tax dollars. 

Third, developmental insight also helps religious officials. If you think about the sacramental system of the Catholic church, it is based on the lifecycle of a person - birth to death.