Havighurst identified Six Major Stages in human life covering birth to old age


  •   Infancy & early childhood (Birth till 6 years old)
  • Middle childhood (6-12 years old)
  • Adolescence (13-18 years old)
  • Early Adulthood (19-30 years old)
  • Middle Age (30-60years old)
  • Later maturity (60 years old and over)

From there, Havighurst recognized that each human has three sources for developmental tasks. They are:

  • Tasks that arise from physical maturation: Learning to walk, talk, control of bowel and urine, behaving in an acceptable manner to opposite sex, adjusting to menopause.
  • Tasks that arise from personal values: Choosing an occupation, figuring out ones philosophical outlook.
  • Tasks that have their source in the pressures of society: Learning to read, learning to be responsible citizen.

The developmental tasks model that Havighurst developed was age dependent and all served pragmatic functions depending on their age.

Developmental Tasks

(Ages 0-6)

  • Learning to walk. * Learning to crawl. * Learning to take solid food. * Learning to talk. * Learning to control the elimination of body wastes. * Learning sex differences and sexual modesty. * Getting ready to read. * Forming concepts and learning language to describe social and physical reality.

(Ages 6-12)

  • Learning physical skills necessary for ordinary games. * Learning to get along with age mates. * Building wholesome attitudes toward oneself as a growing organism. * Learning on appropriate masculine or feminine social role. * Developing concepts necessary for everyday living. * Developing conscience, morality and a scale of values. * Achieving personal independence. * Developing attitudes toward social groups and institutions.

(Ages 12-18)

  • Achieving new and more mature relations with age mates of both sexes. * Achieving a masculine or feminine social role. * Accepting one’s physique and using the body effectively. * Achieving emotional independence of parents and other adults. * Preparing for marriage and family life. * Acquiring a set of values and an ethical system as a guide to behavior. * Desiring and achieving socially responsible behavior.* Selecting an occupation.

(Ages 18-30)

  • Selecting a mate. * Learning to live with a partner. * Starting family. * Rearing children. * Managing home. * Getting started in occupation. * Taking on civic responsibility. * Finding a congenial social group.

(Ages 30-60)

  • Assisting teenage children to become responsible and happy adults. * Achieving adult social and civic responsibility. * Reaching and maintaining satisfactory performance in one’s occupational career. * Developing adult leisure time activities. * Relating oneself to one’s spouse as a person. * To accept and adjust to the physiological changes of middle age. * Adjusting to aging parents.

(60 and over)

  • Adjusting to decreasing physical strength and health. Adjusting to retirement and reduced income. * Adjusting to death of a spouse. * Establishing an explicit affiliation with one’s age group. * Adopting and adapting social roles in a flexible way. * Establishing satisfactory physical living arrangements.



3 thoughts on “Havighurst identified Six Major Stages in human life covering birth to old age

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