PSYC07025 2020 Adult Developmental Psychology

General Details

Full Title
Adult Developmental Psychology
Transcript Title
Adult Developmental Psychology
N/A %
Subject Area
PSYC - Psychology Studies
SOCS - Social Sciences
07 - NFQ Level 7
10 - 10 Credits
Start Term
2020 - Full Academic Year 2020-21
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Dr. Allison Gillen
Programme Membership
SG_HENGL_H08 202000 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Humanities in Joint Major: English and Psychology

Development is life long and not confined to any particular age or life phase. This module will explore adult development from mid-life to old age. Students will become familiar with key theories of adult development and ageing. They will explore the manner in which adult development is researched and the challenges of conducting this research. The module will introduce students to how a range of factors, including individual differences, social roles and social support can impact the experience of ageing. A key theme underpinning this module is that adult development is multi-dimensional and conditioned by a range of interrelated factors. Material will be covered through lecturing, class-based discussion, case work and exploring quantitative and qualitative research databases.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Demonstrate critical understanding of a range of factors, concepts, methods, research findings and application of adult developmental psychological theories.


Critically discuss how individual differences, including social roles and social support, impact the experience of ageing.


Discuss the relationship between theory and evidence in adult developmental psychology and its meaningfulness in explaining human behaviours.


Demonstrate competence in exploring key contemporary debates in adult developmental psychology and the applied relevance of this research evidence.


Generate original qualitative data which is ethically sourced.


Demonstrate evidence of qualitative data analysis using appropriate software.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Material will be covered through lecturing, class-based discussion, case work and exploring quantitative and qualitative research databases.

Module Assessment Strategies

Assessment 1: Life-Course Interview (80%)

Students will design and conduct a life-story interview with an older adult (within their own social network). They shall transcribe this interview and analyse the interview transcript through the lens of at least two of the theoretical perspectives of adult development covered in class.

Learning Outcomes Assessed: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.


Assessment 2: Life-Course Interview Presentation (20%)

During tutorial time, students will present the findings of their life-story interview through the medium of a PowerPoint presentation (10 minutes per presentation).

Learning Outcomes Assessed: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Repeat Assessments

Repeat assessment will be dependent on failed component(s).

Indicative Syllabus

Topic 1: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives of Ageing

Topic 2: Social Roles, Health and Ageing

Topic 3: Social Support, Health and Ageing

Topic 4: Individual Differences in Health and Ageing

Topic 5: Researching the Life-Course


Theories of Adult Development

The Adult Developmental Psychology module will explore a range of theories throughout the module which may include: activity theory; disengagement theory; lifespan developmental approaches; biopsychosocial model of adult development; selection, optimization and compensation and social identity theory.

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
100 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Life-Course Interview Continuous Assessment Assessment 80 % Week 11 1,2,3,4,5,6
2 Life-Course Interview Presentation Continuous Assessment Assessment 20 % Week 13 1,2,3,4,5,6

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Lecture Lecture Theatre Lecture and Tutorial 6 Weekly 6.00
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 6.00 Hours

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources

Cavanaugh, J. C. and Blanchard-Fields, F. (2017) Adult development and aging. 8th edn. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Erikson, E. H. (1982) The life cycle completed. New York, US: Norton.

Mortimer, M. J. and Shanahan, M. J. (2003) Handbook of the life course. New York, US: Springer.

Ryan, P. and Coughlan, B. J. (2011) Ageing and older adult mental health: Issues and implications for practice.  London, UK: Routledge.

Santrock, J. W. (2016) A topical approach to life-span development.  8th edn.  New York, US: McGraw-Hill Education.

Whitbourne, S. K. and Whitbourne, S. B. (2011) Adult development and ageing: Biopsychosocial perspectives. 4th edn. John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.

Journal Resources

Baltes, P. B (1997) ‘On the incomplete architecture of human ontogeny.  Selection, optimization, and compensation as foundation of developmental theory’, American Psychologist, 52(4), pp. 366-380.

Barrett, A. E. (2005) ‘Gendered experiences in midlife: Implications for age identity. Journal of Aging Studies,19, pp. 163-183.

Barrett, A. E. and Montepare, J. (2015) ‘It's about time: Applying life span and life course perspectives to the study of subjective age’, Annual Review of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 35(1), pp. 55-77.

Barrett, A. E. and Toothman, E. (2016) ‘Explaining age differences in women's emotional well-being: The role of subjective experiences of aging’, Journal of Women and Aging, 28(4), pp. 285-296.

Bowling, A. et al. (2005) ‘Attributes of age-identity’, Ageing and Society, 25(4), pp. 479-500.

Costa, P. T. and McCrae, R. R. (1980) ‘Still stable after all these years: Personality as a key to some issues in adulthood and old age’ in Baltes, P. B. and Brim, O. G. Jr. (eds.) Life-span development and behavior. New York, US: Academic Press, pp. 65-102.

Duncan, L. E. and Agronick, G. S. (1995) ‘The intersection of life stage and social events: Personality and life outcomes’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology69, pp. 558-568.

Horst, G. A. (1995) ‘Reexamining gender issues in Erikson's stages of identity and intimacy’, Journal of Counselling and Development, 73(3), pp. 271-278.

Toothman, E. and Barrett, A. E. (2011) ‘Mapping midlife: An examination of social factors shaping conceptions of the timing of middle age’, Advances in Life Course Research, 16, pp. 99-111.

URL Resources
Other Resources

The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA):


The Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) has many useful resources for students including the PSI's Code of Professional Ethics, resources such as writing style and links to publications and journals.  (


The British Psychological Society (BPS) has various sections providing resources such as the BPS Research Digest, links to journals, publications and ethical guidelines.  (


The American Psychological Association (APA) has various divisions and useful resources for students and practitioners.  The website provides resources such as writing style and ethical guidelines, links to publications and journals.  (