What are the Various Stages of Psychological Development?


The term development in its most general psychological sense refers to certain changes that occur in human beings (or animals) between conception and death.

The term is not applied to all changes, but rather to those that appear in orderly ways and remain for a reasonably long period of time. A temporary change caused by a brief illness, for example, is not considered a part of development. Psychologists also make a value judgment in determining which changes qualify as development.

The changes, at least those that occur early in life, are generally assumed to be for the better and to result in behavior that is more adaptive, more organized, more effective, and more complex (Mussed, Conger, & Kalgan, 1984). Stages of Development


Age groups

Stages of Development

Schooling stage

Birth to 2 yrs.


2yrs. to 6 yrs.

Early childhood


6 yrs. to 12 yrs.

Later childhood


12 yrs. to 18 yrs.


Secondary and

Senior secondary.

18 yrs. to 40 yrs.

Young adulthood

40 yrs. to 65 yrs.

Mature adulthood

Over 65 yrs.

Aged adulthood

Each and every stage of development is characterized by a set of unique, coherent and distinguishing features.


Each period in life has its own problems of adjustment. Throughout the life span people develop techniques of handling each of their difficulties. All children progress in a definite order through these stages and they all follow similar basic patterns. These stages along with their corresponding ages have been identified by development psychologists as follows:

1. Prenatal Period (Before birth):

Life begins at the time of conception. When the child is in the mother’s womb the particular period spent there is known as prenatal period. All important external and internal feeling start to develop at this stage.

2. Infancy (0 to 3 years):

From birth up to the third of life rapidly in size during their first three years. The acquisition of motor skills link holding things, crawling, walking proceeds from simple to complex.

3. Pre-school childhood (3-6 years):

The growth of height is not so rapid during this stage as is in infancy. Childhood improve eye, hand and small muscle coordination. For example they can draw a circle, pour into a bowl, button and unbutton the clothes, language development is rapid.

4. School childhood (6-12 years):

Primary school years)-School children between the age of 6 to 12 years look much taller and thinner. Children keep getting stronger and faster. They achieve new motor skills. Their competence in all areas of development becomes more pronounced.

5. Adolescence (12-20 years):

It is the span of year between childhood and adulthood which begins at puberty.

This is the period of rapid physiological growth. There are a number of psychological changes which also take place. They jump rope, bicycle, ride horse, dance and indulge in all possible games.

Cognitively also they more agile. Social relationships become important, but the hallmark of this stage is the reach for identity. There are a number of psychological changes which also take place.

6. Adulthood (20-65 years):

For better understanding adulthood can be / divided into three stages. These are:

(a) Young adulthood (20-50 years)

(b) Mature adulthood or the Middle years (50-65 years)

(c) Aging adulthood (65+years)

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