Lady Gaga’s Lifespan Development Stages

Lifespan development relates to the changes and growth people undergo from the time they are conceived to the end of their physical life. Several theories and models have been developed and used to explain the physical, cognitive, psychological, social, and behavioral changes that occur between a person’s conception to his or her death. Most lifespan development theories believe that human growth and development begins from conception and proceeds throughout all life stages until a person’s demise. The various theoretical frameworks offer similar or conflicting perspectives about how an individual successfully navigates all the life stage from infancy to adulthood. This paper focuses on the lifespan development stages of Lady Gaga. It draws on several lifespan development theories to discuss how Lady Gaga transitioned cognitively, psychologically, and socially throughout the various developmental stages.

Stefani Joanne Angelina, famously known as Gaga, was born on 28th March 1986 at Lenox hill hospital New York. She is the firstborn child of Joseph Germanotta, who was an Internet businessman. Lady Gaga is of Italian and French Canadian ancestry. When at the age of four, Lady Gaga had already started learning piano. Her passion for learning came after her mother insisted that she should become a cultured young woman. She took piano classes and lessons and practiced them throughout her childhood.

These lessons were important to her life as they taught her how to create music by ear over reading notes. She grew up attending the covenant of the sacred heart school, which made her spiritual, and up to today, she is a very spiritual woman who believes in God. The Godly upbringing has contributed immensely to her moral development. Also, both of her parents have been involved in art since when Lady Gaga was young. Her mother was performing in a musical theatre while her father was a Springsteen cover band player. These seem to have contributed immensely to her gift of theatrical intelligence and music. However, life was not smooth for her during this stage of life.

According to Erikson’s developmental theories, a child can initiate activities, assert their world and take control of it at 3-6 years old. This kind of assertion is the case with Lady Gaga. At the age of 4, she recognized what she wanted, and she had started having some influence in the world of music at such a young age. She was able to play piano, practice it and learn valuable lessons from what she was doing. The learning helped her in developing a sense of purpose and self-confidence in the musical field. Her cognitive skills had started picking up at a young age, and at the age of 13 she had written her first song, and that the age of 14 she had started performing live. She was still in school at that time, and she said her high school life was very educated, dedicated, and much disciplined, but she was also very insecure. When Lady Gaga was in middle school, she had to go through difficult moments that almost destroyed her mental health. Since she was a unique girl, this did not impress her peers, and they used to humiliate, taunt, and isolate her. She went from a very inspired and happy young girl to somebody who started having doubts about herself.

Humiliation and isolation contributed immensely to her emotional development. She could get very disturbed emotionally and she felt like a freak who did not fit in with her peers. It led to her having very few people in her social circle, and she wanted to live a life where she could be a role model to other freaks like her. However, despite what she went through, she was still a vibrant young lady who understood what she wanted in her life, and this did not hinder her from pursuing her dreams.

Following Eriksson’s developmental theory, at the age of 6-12, children face the task of inferiority versus industry. At this stage, a child begins to compare himself or herself to others, especially peers, to find out how they match. The developmental milestone that characterize this phase of life is the emergence of a strong sense of pride due to perceived accomplishments. A child that fails to navigate this stage may exhibit inferiority complexity when they compare themselves to their successful peers (Kerpelman, 2018). This developmental theory applies widely in Lady Gaga’s life at this stage. She was different from her peers, and, as a result, she felt that she did not fit in with the group since she could not compare with her peers in high school. She felt like a freak and an outcast among her peers. However, her mother intervened, listened to her and understood her feelings during this time.

At the age of 17, Gaga went to New York University where she studied music. During her time at the university, she was engaged in writing essays about religious art, social issues, and politics. At this stage, Gaga felt that she was more creative than some of her classmates, and she thought that when someone starts learning art, they are capable of teaching themselves. This attitude led her dropout of school in her second year to focus on the music career. She left her father’s apartment and went to stay alone because she could not go to university as her father wanted.

Just as many adolescents struggle with role confusions versus identity according to Erikson’s developmental theory, Lady Gaga had to drop out of the university to pursue her career. She believed she had nothing to learn from school and could teach herself after she started learning art. She left her father’s apartment at this age to live in the cheapest apartment, even without food to ensure she pursued her dream. Even in the face of problems, she had a powerful sense of identity, and she remained true to her values and beliefs.

Lady Gaga’s adulthood and career life started in her early 20s. After leaving school when she was 18, she started transforming her life from Germanotta into Lady Gaga. Her style combined over-the-top fashion designs and glam rock. Success is not just a stroke of luck for this lady. She worked as a waitress at the age of 15, and after that, as a go-go dancer so she could afford to pay for flyers to promote her shows. This robust work ethic characterizes Gaga’s vibrant personality that developed as a result of environmental influences. These work ethics were instilled in her by her parents, and as long as she worked hard on whatever she wanted to achieve.

Family support played a vital role in Gaga’s social life, in her adjustments and developmental growth during this stage. Since her mother wanted her to be a cultured woman at a very young age, the parents supported her and encouraged her to be an entertainer. They encouraged her to believe in herself, pursue her goals, and do her best to accomplish them. However, because of her social network, she developed into a woman she could call a freak.

Gaga dressed differently, got along with men more than women, and was the kind of a person who had very few friends. The lack of empathy and absence of a support system is so evident in her music and performance. Personality psychology theories such as personality in existential theory and the five-factor model of personality can explain Gaga’s peculiar character. Looking at Lady Gaga, who has specialized in writing songs and lyrics for a living, the five-factor personality model rates her high on openness, extraversion, neuroticism, and conscientiousness and low on agreeableness. The existential personality theory also describes Gaga’s personality in one of the best ways. Most of the issues covered by this approach are almost important and closer to Gaga’s heart. For example, most of her performances have a theme of death, and this is the central theme in existential personality theory; thus displays her personality well. Consistency in Gaga’s life, experience, and strong sense of identity have contributed immensely to building her character (Van Prooijen, 2019).

In conclusion, this discussion has demonstrated that Lady Gaga’s musical career has grown over time. It has changed from one milestone to another on an upward trend. Different eras of her musical career have put the star among the leading and most successful artists in the country. She has improved over time and presented herself so naturally and authentically. According to Erikson’s developmental theory, Gaga’s life has changed from early adulthood to middle adulthood, where she is concerned with generativism. This stage involves finding the work you are doing in your life and making attempts to help others develop in life. Whereas Gaga has identified her path, she is still deep in her career, and working with others is contributing to their growth and identification in their field.


Kerpelman, J. L., & Pittman, J. F. (2018). Erikson and the relational context of identity: Strengthening connections with attachment theory. Identity, 18(4), 306-314. Web.

van Prooijen, J. W. (2019). An existential threat model of conspiracy theories. European Psychologist, 25(1), 16-25. Web.

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PsychologyWriting. "Lady Gaga’s Lifespan Development Stages." September 14, 2023.