Coursework on Lifespan Psychology

Answers to question number 1

According to Levinson, how do the life structure of men and women differ?

Lifespan psychology deals with the study of individual’s development from birth to old age. Development does not cease at adult hood but extends to through the entire life course. Adaptive processes such as acquisition, maintenance, transformation, and attrition in psychological structures occur through the course of an individual’s life span.

According to Levinson an individual’s life structure is determined by not only social, but also the physical environment. This are the major determinants and he recognizes other factors such as religion, race, and status as being important factors that influence life structures. Theorists acknowledge the differences that exist in men and women’s development at midlife and later stages of life. Midlife refers to age 40 and early 50’s. Past studies on women development focused on menopause and post parental development. However, recent research focus on changes in women’s experiences and specifically Levinson acknowledges the impact of culture, race and class in a more historical context. As a result, it becomes vital to carry out separate studies and examination for men and women. Men and women have different roles, and values and this plays a major role in determining how one perceives one’s self, level of confidence, knowledge and overall development (Berk, 2009, p. 36).

Daniel Levinson believes that the development process of both men and women is the same since we all pass through the same periods of life. Women go through the same development process as men, but the difference is in the biological and sociological conditionality (Steinberg, Bornstein, Vandell, & Rook, 2010, p. 42). During midlife (age 40 and last for about five years) individuals must appreciate their past and start preparing for the future. This period can largely be termed as a time of reevaluation and review. Some individuals make big changes in their livessuch as finding new jobs, and breaking off long-term relationship ties(marriages)while others make minor changes. The table one below shows social differences, psychological differences and cultural differences between males and females. The table emphasizes on the masculine and feminine personal quality differences (Newman & Newman, 2007, p. 216).



  • Men are said to be heterosexual in nature.
  • On the other hand, women are said to be homosexuals in nature.
  • Men are powerful and tough.
  • Women are weak and aslo vulnerable.
  • Men are go big achievers and very ambitious.
  • Women play the role of supporting men in their ambitions. They serve as mothers and caretakers. They have no business competing with men.
  • Men are characterized as powerful, controlling, willful, and show great strength.
  • Women, on the other hand, are considered weak, very submissive and are prone to victimization by people who are above them.
  • Men are thinkers and appear to be very reasonable and logical.
  • Women, on the other hand, are very emotional beings and attach their feelings to all situations in life. They are also very intuitive.
  • Men’s definition of creation is producing something that has been previously planned for, and a design has been sketched. It involves using of raw materials to make finished products.
  • A woman’s definition of creation is to give birth and looking after them up to the point where they can take care of themselves.

Table One

In conclusion, gender does make a difference in the human development process bearing in mind the core social experiences that men and women undergo. Midlife developments between men and women differ greatly. Biological changes including aging, hormonal changes and changes in body structure are similar in both men and women. Sociological changes differ in that women strive to build networks with other fellow women while men want to be recognized individually for their efforts towards the achievement of a certain goal. Based on psychological changes both men and women undergo a midlife crisis where they experience a deeper understanding of themselves and how they relate to other people around them. It is also at this stage where they try and balance the masculine and feminine qualities. Cultural changes involve baby boomers redefining the midlife stage as being more positive and optimistic for both men and women (Thies & Travers, 2001, p. 58). The difference comes in where in men the societal and workplace structure support redefinition but in women these structures miss to support redefinition and are not encouraged.

Describe your early adulthood dream (being an architect)

Since childhood, I had always aspired to become an architect. My aspirations were greatly influenced by my father who an established architect was running his own business. Most of our bonding time was spent at his work place and I observed him work, and it was such a big motivation for me. I kept telling myself that one day I will become like my farther. In accordance with my dream, I joined the college of architectural studies. I learnt a great deal of stuff and most of which I was already familiar with courtesy of my farther. My lecturers saw my passion for architecture and played a major role in encouraging me and serving as my mentors. My father made a promise to me that if I achieved first class honors he would let me run his firm. This gave me a lot of motivation. After three years in college I managed to get a first class distinction and true to his words, my farther let me run his company.

What impact might culture have on life structures desires and outcomes?

A majority of individual life structures involves work and family; however other factors such as religion, race and economic status form part of a person’s life structure. There are four phases of human development: Pre adult hood stage where individuals are starting their careers and also families are being formed, early adulthood stage where individuals settle down and pursue career advancements, middle adulthood stage where individuals cultivate their skills and assets and achieve individuality, the last stage is the late adulthood stage where individuals reflect upon the success and failures of their lives. These four stages are affected by the individual’s culture which can be defined as the psychological, social, material and symbolic (Knowledge) resources that individuals have acquired over their lifespan. These resources are transmitted from generation to generation in increasing quantity and quality and this account for the human development. Age related increase in need for culture has two parts; human needs to have reached higher levels of functioning whether physical or psychological (in terms of richness and dissemination of resources and opportunities) and the second part is the biological weakness associated with age. The older we get, the more we become reliant on culture based resources to maintain high levels of functioning.

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