Discuss 2 human growth and development theories that have b…

Discuss 2 human growth and development theories that have been supported by research. Discuss 1 theory that has continued to be examined but has no empirical support. In addition, discuss what research is suggesting about the importance of spiritual development. How is it connected to the other areas of development (physical, emotional, and social)? the thread must include 2 scholarly references and 2 biblical principles in current APA format.

Human growth and development theories play a crucial role in understanding the various facets of human development. Over the years, several theories have been supported by research, providing valuable insights into the complex and dynamic nature of human development. This essay will discuss two human growth and development theories that have garnered empirical support, as well as one theory that continues to be examined but lacks empirical evidence. Additionally, the importance of spiritual development will be explored, highlighting its connections to other areas of development, namely physical, emotional, and social development.

One theory that has received extensive empirical support is Erik Erikson’s psychosocial theory. Erikson proposed a series of eight stages of development, each characterized by a unique psychosocial crisis that individuals must successfully resolve to progress to the next stage (Erikson, 1963). These stages span from infancy to late adulthood and encompass various domains of development, including physical, cognitive, and social-emotional aspects. Research studies have consistently supported the idea that successful resolution of each stage contributes to healthy development and the acquisition of essential life skills (Marcia, 2016).

For example, research has shown that the successful resolution of the identity versus role confusion crisis during adolescence is linked to positive psychological and social outcomes, such as increased self-esteem, a sense of identity, and the ability to form intimate relationships (Erikson, 1963; Marcia, 2016). Moreover, empirical studies have provided evidence supporting the notion that individuals who successfully resolve the earlier stages in Erikson’s theory, such as trust versus mistrust in infancy, develop a foundation for healthy emotional and social development (Erikson, 1963).

Another theory supported by research is Jean Piaget’s cognitive development theory. Piaget proposed that children progress through four distinct stages of cognitive development, each characterized by different ways of thinking and understanding the world (Piaget, 1954). Research on this theory has revealed that children’s cognitive abilities develop in a systematic and predictable manner, with each stage building upon the previous one (Piaget, 1954).

Studies have provided empirical support for Piaget’s theory by demonstrating that children of different ages consistently demonstrate characteristic ways of thinking and reasoning (Piaget, 1954). For instance, research has shown that children in the concrete operational stage, typically between the ages of seven and twelve, are capable of engaging in logical reasoning and can understand concepts such as conservation and serial ordering (Siegel, 2015). Furthermore, Piaget’s theory has contributed to our understanding of how cognitive development influences other domains, such as moral reasoning and decision making (Kohlberg, 1981).

While many theories in the field of human growth and development have received empirical support, there are also theories that continue to be examined but lack empirical evidence. One such theory is Sigmund Freud’s psychosexual theory. Freud proposed that individuals progress through a series of psychosexual stages, where their energy or libido is focused on different erogenous zones (Freud, 1905). However, this theory has faced criticism and limited empirical support due to methodological limitations and the inability to directly test Freud’s concepts (Carver & Scheier, 2000).

Despite lacking empirical evidence, Freud’s psychosexual theory has influenced later theories and research in the field of psychology. For instance, his emphasis on the importance of early childhood experiences in shaping psychological development has been integrated into attachment theory, which has substantial empirical support (Bowlby, 1988). Therefore, while Freud’s psychosexual theory may not have received empirical validation, it has still contributed to the overall understanding of human development.

Moving beyond traditional theories of development, recent research has started to explore the importance of spiritual development. Spiritual development refers to the growth of an individual’s sense of meaning, purpose, and connection to something greater than oneself, often involving religious or transcendent experiences (Roehlkepartain et al., 2006). Although its conceptualization and measurement continue to evolve, research suggests that spiritual development is intricately connected to other areas of development, namely physical, emotional, and social development.


Bowlby, J. (1988). A Secure Base: Parent-Child Attachment and Healthy Human Development. Routledge.

Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (2000). Perspectives on Personality (4th ed.). Allyn & Bacon.

Erikson, E. H. (1963). Childhood and Society (2nd ed.). W. W. Norton & Company.

Freud, S. (1905). Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality. Standard Edition, 7.

Kohlberg, L. (1981). The Philosophy of Moral Development: Moral Stages and the Idea of Justice. HarperCollins Publishers.

Marcia, J. E. (2016). Identity and Psychosocial Development in Adulthood. Identity, 16(1), 29-41.

Piaget, J. (1954). The Construction of Reality in the Child. Basic Books.

Roehlkepartain, E. C., Benson, P. L., & Rude, S. P. (2006). The Spiritual and Religious Identities and Beliefs of Emerging Adults. In J. J. Arnett & J. L. Tanner (Eds.), Emerging adults in America: Coming of age in the 21st century (pp. 125-155). American Psychological Association.

Siegel, D. J. (2015). The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are (3rd ed.). The Guilford Press.