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Human Growth and Development

Human Growth and Development

Third Edition

© 2016 | 280 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

What is it that determines what sort of person we become?

Is a child’s future personality
already determined at birth, or is a newborn baby like a blank sheet, waiting to be written on by life?

Is our personality determined by anything, or do we choose for ourselves who we are, create

ourselves out of nothing?

This bestselling introduction to emotional, psychological, intellectual and social development throughout the lifespan will help you explore these questions and many more. 


Written for students training for careers in the helping professions, including nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, teachers and counsellors, the book covers topics which are central to understanding people whether they are clients, service users, patients or pupils. Following the shape of a human life, beginning with birth and ending with death, it combines theoretical concepts and reflective learning to help you develop an understanding of what makes human beings grow and change over their lives to inform your decisions and professional practice.


The Birth of a Human Being: What Makes Us Who We Are?
The Balancing Act: Psychodynamic Insights
A Secure Base: The Importance of Attachment
The Emergence of Reason: The Developing Ability to Understand
Making Connections: Ideas from Behaviourism
Who Am I Going to Be? Adolescence, Identity and Change
Acting Like a Grown-up: Challenges of Adulthood
Access to Adulthood: Growing up with a Disability
No Man Is an Island: Family Systems and Their Life Cycle
It Takes a Village: ASociological Perspective
Coming to a Conclusion: Themes in Old Age
That Good Night: Death, Dying and Bereavement

This is a very thoughtful and engaging book.  Students will find it a useful resource to begin their exploration of human growth.   It manages to encapsulate theoretical learning whilst promoting critical thought and further exploration

Judith Buck
Senior Lecturer in Social Work, School of Sport, Health and Social Sciences, Southampton Solent University

This book introduces the reader to a very wide range of theory and concepts relating to human growth and development across the entire lifespan from birth to death. It’s a great introductory text with useful practical activities to encourage students to engage and reflect.

Dr Jo Bell
School of Social Sciences, University of Hull

The book is very accessible to both students and lecturers and works very well as an introductory source. The activities are a useful teaching aid and provide examples which help students make links between theory and real life.

Sam McMahon
Principal Lecturer and Course leader in Early Years, University of Huddersfield

I am pleased to endorse the second edition of Chris Beckett and Hilary Taylor book which sets out a clear and accessible text to guide students in understanding human growth and development. It is particularly beneficial as students begin their journey in exploring theories to help understand the course of human life and get to grips with the complexity of development. I recommend this book as an introduction for all levels of academic study.

Dr Lesley Deacon
Senior Lecturer, Applied Social Studies and Social Work, University of Sunderland

This text offers an insightful journey through the life course exploring the events and experiences that shape us into the individuals we are. The text combines the underpinning theories with a practical discussion and useful activities help to guide application of thinking throughout. The text is invaluable for students and academics alike and is relevant across a wide range of subject areas.

Liz Cade
Senior lecturer in Occupational Therapy, Glyndwr University

An excellent book with an engaging style. Clear accessible information is supported by practical activities. A ‘must have’ resource for those students and practitioners seeking to understand the application of a psychosocial approach to human growth and development.

Vivienne Dacre
Senior Lecturer in Social Work and Programme Leader in Therapeutic Child Care, Glyndwr University

Human Growth and Development provides an excellent foundation to understanding lifespan changes and dynamics for social work (or social and health care students). This informative text is supported by activities and case examples which help connect theory and practice in a meaningful way.

Fern Basnett
Staffordshire University

The language throughout is unambiguous and accessible, the summaries are concise and the case studies give good practical applications to the theoretical concepts....The book is easy to understand and well structured. The ideas are presented in a logical and coherent format, which makes it a fascinating read

Ibadete Fetahu
Nursing Times

Superb introduction to all the theories and models in human growth and development. Ideal for first year students as it is clearly understandable and well laid out.

Ms Diana Conroy
College of health and social care, Derby University
May 30, 2018

This book is accessible to audiences who want to understand development from a number of different perspectives as it brings together a range of different theories and concepts on important topics. The titles of the chapters alone are food for thought, stimulating discussion and generating a desire to know more.

Dr Simone Coetzee
Department of Health & Human Sciences, Essex University
October 23, 2017

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1 - The Birth of a Human Being

Preview this book

Chris Beckett

Chris Beckett qualified as a social worker in the 1980s, and worked in the field for 18 years, first as a social worker and then as a manager, latterly as the manager of a children and families social work team.  Like most social workers who qualified at that time, he started out as a ‘generic’ social worker, working with a range of service users including children and families, old people, and people with mental health problems and disabilities, but his predominant area of work was with children and families.He moved into academic social work in 2000, working first at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge and then at the... More About Author

Hilary Taylor

Hilary Taylor is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and a former social worker, social work lecturer and practice teacher.  More About Author

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