Development throughout the life span is often measured by the successful progression through various age periods, such as infancy or adolescence, on the way to full psychological maturity. Within each of these distinct age periods, psychologists have identified age-related tasks that individuals must master before they can proceed to the next level of maturity. The current entry aims to define developmental tasks as theorized by early social scientists and to describe the tasks relative to each age period as per cultural relevance to Western, 21st-century societies.

First introduced by Robert J. Havighurst (1952–1982), developmental tasks are individual accomplishments that are predictable changes on the way to maturity. They may be physical, biological, cognitive, social, or emotional in nature. Some are universal across cultures (such as formation ...

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