Lifespan Case Study Project Guidelines
A case study is an in-depth look at the life experiences of a single person. For
this assignment, you will interview a single individual who has made it to the late
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adulthood developmental period (i.e., they are at least 65 years of age) and
explore various topics that we have covered in this course.
This project (worth 100 points) is designed to:
• Give you a ‘taste’ of what it’s like to be a developmental psychologist• Apply and discuss various concepts and key terms from a lifespan
• Provide you with an opportunity to compose a project using APA-style, a
style of citation and referencing that is adhered to in psychology as well as
numerous other fields
General Assignment Requirements:
• Title Page and APA-style reference page is required (abstract & running
heads not required)
• Font requirements: Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri, size 12-point• Double-space between lines• One-inch margins all the way around• Five Pages Minimum of body/content• Utilization of at least four scholarly resources (the textbook and class
notes DO count as sources) (two must be from scholarly outside sources after 2005)
Wikipedia is not considered a reliable source and therefore is not
acceptable for use in this class.
• APA-style in-text citations ARE required.• Remember that when using outside research, you must paraphrase the
information while still citing. You do not have permission to simply cut and
paste others’ works into your own.
• Use of direct quotes should be kept to a minimum, but are perfectly
acceptable if citing dialogue from your interview
• File must be uploaded in the proper location• Acceptable file formats include: .doc .docx or .pdf• Must be completed by the date and time indicated in the course schedule in
order to be eligible for full credit.
Twenty percent will be deducted from the final score of late
submissions for each day they are late until they no longer worth any
Specific Paper Requirements:
Your paper will be divided into four parts (in your final paper, please label each
part as Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four):
Part One: Case Background (one paragraph minimum in length):
This section should include:
• The person’s name (for confidentiality purposes, please use only first
names), age, and relationship to you
• City/country where the person was born, city/country where they currently
reside, and with whom they currently live. Do they live in a house,
apartment, assisted living facility, retirement community, etc..?
• Current or former occupation, marital status, # of children/grandchildren
Part Two: Topical Investigation (two pages minimum in length):
This section should explore and apply various topics that we have covered this
semester to the person’s life. Below are some possible questions you can ask
your person (feel free to include the questions in this portion of the paper). Feel
free to explore topics beyond this list as appropriate.
• How would you describe your friendships currently and how have your
friendships changed/evolved over the years?
• What was work like as a young adult, middle adult, and older adult?• How has your level of stress changed or stayed the same over the years?• How have you coped with stress over the years?• What was your highest educational achievement and how did
school/academics influence you as a person?
• How have your romantic relationships evolved over the years?• What is/was your relationship with your parents like over the years? How
• How has your personality evolved over the years – has it been relatively
stable or has it changed?
• How has your level of intelligence and/or cognitive thought evolved over
• Do you have any areas of expertise?• Do you speak any second languages and if so, in what ways might it have
• How have you changed morally over the years?• How have you changed emotionally over the years?• How would you describe your mental health over the years?• How would you describe your self-esteem now (that is, how do you feel
about yourself) and how might that differ or be the same as in earlier time
• How has culture/religion/race/ethnicity/gender influenced your
development and have you ever experienced discrimination based on your
• How might your life be different/unique when compared to your peers?• Were you particularly impacted by any major historical events?• How has your memory abilities changed throughout the years?• Have you experienced any physical challenges in the past and how are
you doing physically now?
• When it comes to children and/or grandchildren, how have those
relationships evolved over the years? If you don’t have any children or
grandchildren, how might this have impacted you positively and/or
• How has your diet/exercise changed over the years?• In your opinion, what is your greatest accomplishment?• Is there anything you still wish to accomplish in this lifetime?• What advice do you have regarding how to live a happy and healthy life?
Part Three: Theories (two page minimum in length, APA-style in-text
citations are required in this section):
This semester, we have explored many developmental theories. Select at least
two psychologists and/or theories from the list below and apply to your case. In
this section, you need to incorporate scholarly information from at least 2 sources
(your textbook and class notes each count as one source).
• Mary Ainsworth• Jeffrey Arnett (see: Early Adulthood)• Noam Chomsky• Dexter Dunphy (see: adolescence, socioemotional development)• Erik Erikson• Joan Erikson• Sigmund Freud• Howard Gardner• Daniel Golman (see: Middle Childhood, socioemotional Development)• G. Stanley Hall (see: adolescence, storm & stress theory)• Lawrence Kohlberg• Gisella Labouvie-Vief• Daniel Levinson• James Marcia (see: adolescence, identity)• Robert Peck• Jean Piaget• Robert Sternberg• Harry Stack Sullivan
• George Vaillant• Lev Vygotsky• Continuity/Discontinuity Issue (see Chapters 1, 2)• Nature/Nurture (see chapters 1, 2, 3)• Neural network vs. information-loss view of aging
• Original Sin/Innate Goodness/Tabula Rasa (see Chapters 1,2)• Parenting Styles• Personality• Social theories of aging including: disengagement, activity, continuity, and• socioemotional selectivity• Stability/Change Issue (See Chapters 1,2)• Temperament• Wear and Tear vs. Genetic Adaptation vs. Cellular view of aging
Part Four: Summary (1/2 page minimum in length):
This section should include a summary of your findings and overall impression of
this person’s life. In addition, I would like for you to answer the following
How would you describe this person’s development in terms of trajectory?
Would you say that his or her life is cyclical in nature? That is, is he or she
on a path to end up right where they started? Or is his/her life more of a
straight line, in which they are ending up in a completely different place
from where they started? Or would you consider a different trajectory
What lessons did you learn from interviewing this person that you are
going to apply to your own life so that you can be happy and healthy for as
long as possible?
Here’s a poem to inspire you in this section:
The Little Boy and the Old Man
By: Shel Silverstein
Said the little boy, “Sometimes I drop my spoon.”
Said the old man, “I do that too.”
The little boy whispered, “I wet my pants.”
“I do that too,” laughed the little old man.
Said the little boy, “I often cry.”
The old man nodded, “So do I.”
“But worst of all,” said the boy, “it seems
Grown-ups don’t pay attention to me.”
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
“I know what you mean,” said the little old man
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