The emergence of life span developmental psychology – approaches, theories, models, methods, implementation

Josef Švancara


The synoptic overview follows two lines of the core topic: life span development and the strategy of its research. The actual task is to design a life span development theory leading to the recognition and specification of individual development dynamics together with allocation of resources for growth, resilience and coping with losses. Ongoing empirical research point out how this general concept is tested in specific areas, such as cognitive processes, motor activity and emotionality. Is lifespan developmental psychology a special kind of developmental psychology, a general integrative ontogenetic concept, or is, is just one of the orientations in the current research of development? Arguments in current discussions are hinted. One of the main pretensions of life span development theory is to allocate a profile of biology- and culture-based sources of growth, resilience and coping with losses. Pluralism appears to be a general characteristic for changes of postmodernism in the concepts of diversity. The number of papers dealing with both positive and risk factors in the lifespan development context is increasing.


adaptive capacity, life-span development, gain-loss dynamics, optimization, implementation


Ananjev, B. G. (1980). Človek ako predmet poznania (Man as a subject of recognition). [Translated from Russian original into Slovak language]. Bratislava: Psychodiagnostika.

Baltes, P. B & Mayer, K. U. (1999). The Berlin Ageing Study: Ageing from 70 to 100. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Brandtstätter, J. & Lerner, R .M. (Eds.) (1999). Action and self development: Theory and research through the life span. Thousand Oaks, CA: Stage.

Bühler, C. (1933). Der menschliche Lebenslauf als psychologisches Problem. (The course of human life as a psychological problem). Göttingen: Hogrefe.

Corsini, R. J. (2002). The dictionary of psychology. London: Brunner-Routledge. Damon and Lerner (Eds.). (2006). Handbook of Child Psychology, Vol. 1: Theoretical Models of Human Development. Sixth Edition. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

Golovacha, E. I. & Kronik, A. A. (1984). Psychologičeskoje vremja ličnosti. (Psychological time of personality). Kiev: Naukova duma.

Horn, J. L. & Cattell, R. B. (1966). Refinement and test of the theory of fluid and crystallized general intelligences. Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol 57(5), 253–270.

Jung, C. G. (1994). Duše moderního člověka. [Translated Karel Plocek]. Brno: Atlantis.

Koops, W., Hopkins, B., Engelen, P. (1994). Abstracts of the Thirteenth Biennial Meetings of the International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development, 28 June – 2 July, Amsterdam.

Kováč, D. (2007). Psychológiou k metanoi. Bratislava: Veda.

Kuhl, J. (2010). Lehrbuch der Persönlichkeit­spsychologie. Göttingen: Hogrefe.

Lang, F. R. & Heckhausen, J. (2006). Allgemeine Entwicklungspsycho­logie der Lebensspanne. Begriffe, Theorien und Befunde. In K. Pawlik (Hrsg.) Handbuch der Psychologie, 277–292. Heidelberg: Springer.

Mrkvička, J. (1984). Knížka o radosti: rozpravy o růstu a tvorbě osobnosti. 1. vyd. Praha: Avicenum.

Oser, F. & Gmünder, P. (1991). Religions judgement: A developmental approach. Birmingham: A.L. Religious Education Press.

Pawlik, K. (Ed.). (2006). Handbuch der Psychologie. Heidelberg: Springer.

Říčan, P. (1990). Cesta životem (Way of life). Praha: Panorama.

Smékal, V. (2002). Pozvání do psychologie osobnosti. Brno: Barrister & Principal.

Vallerand, R. J., Carbonneau, N., Lafreniere & M.A. (2008). On living life to the fullest. The role of passion. In R. Schwarzer & P. A. Frensch (Eds.), Personality, human development and culture, 65–82. New York: Psychology Press. Welsch, W. (1993). Postmoderna. Pluralita jako etická a politická hodnota. [Translated Břetislav Horyna]. Praha: KLP.

Wohlwill, J. F. (1973). The study of behavior development. New York: Academic Press.

Zimbardo, P. & Boyd, J. (2008). The time paradox – the new psychology of time that will change your life. New York: Free Press.

Show all Hide