Lifespan Development and Mental Disorders


People assume that childhood and teenage stages are the most blissful period in life. However, psychological research indicates that these stages are more critical than fun because they determine the future of an individual’s mental wellness. An average of 9 out of 10 adolescents with mental sicknesses develop the illness during childhood which progresses into adulthood (Weir, 2017). Childhood and adolescence involve a lot of developmental changes both physically and mentally, which makes it difficult to notice the advancement of a complication (Belsky, 2015). The most common mental sickness in children is anxiety disorders that develop through various growth disruptions such as slow thinking, inadequate social skills, and emotional traumas (Weir, 2017). This essay discusses the factors leading to anxiety conditions during childhood and adolescent developmental stages and gives possible solutions while suggesting possible prevention measures.

Article Summary

‘Brighter future for anxious kids’ is written by Kirsten Weir, an independent author specializing in psychological, health, and scientific publications. In this article, Weir discusses the psychological health of children suffering from nervousness. She argues that most children and adolescents with anxiety disorder do not receive an accurate diagnosis and treatment because this type condition has a wide range of symptoms. She gives indications of this complication as having stomachaches, social phobia, overwhelming worries, and headaches. Due to a lack of proper diagnosis and treatment, these kids may have the symptoms into adulthood, resulting in depression or suicidal tendencies (Weir, 2017). Therefore, it is essential to address the issue earlier to avoid future complications.

The article also addresses the various factors contributing to mental disorders, such as physiological and biological influences. Biologically, anxiety runs in the family genes, and girls are more likely to inherit the gene than boys. Furthermore, children who have social restrictions while growing tend to develop psychological ailments. Weir mentions that physiological factors such as trauma or abuse during childhood contribute to the advance of the above condition. Apart from biological and environmental factors, parents are also responsible for developing anxiety disorders in their children. How parents communicate and interact with children and adolescents is significant in the progression of their psychological state (Weir, 2017). The also author states that children start developing anxiety condition symptoms at an early age, between 10-11 years old. She, therefore, urges parents to support their children in their social activities to gain social awareness.

Finally, Weir suggests approaches to preventing the above complication in children and adolescents. Since parents and genetic composition are significant contributors to the condition, psychologists and doctors should check the family’s medical records to diagnose and treat anxiety disorders before developing further (Weir, 2017). Although various clinical and treatments exist, most of them do not have a lasting effect. Therefore, Weir believes that medical researchers can find better treatment to ensure long-term recovery and early prevention on children showing anxiety disorder symptoms

Developmental Factors that Contribute to Anxiety Disorder

Infancy Development

Anxiety disorder is the excessive fear of situations or objects which disturb an individual normal functioning. Children with this type of condition tend to fear particular objects or show disturbing distress characteristics, while adolescents tend to avoid socially active places and make eye contact with others (Weir, 2017). Factors contributing to anxiety disorder include environmental and biological factors during growth. Each developmental stage requires specific care and stable environmental conditions for proper growth.

Maternal and Perinatal healthcare is essential for the proper development of children.

During the infantry stage, children need enough nourishment, competent caregivers, parental attachment, adequate cognitive stimulation, and nurturing for good health (Belsky, 2015). Children who are born below the average weight have a higher risk of developing mental disorders. Perinatal factors contributing to mental disorders include substance abuse, poverty, and mental illness, leading to poor fetal development.

Parents with histories of mental illness are more likely to pass it to their children through genetic material (Weir, 2017). Doctors and psychologists should check parents’ medical history to get accurate diagnoses and treatment of mental illnesses.

Childhood Development

Childhood experiences form the basic foundation of an individual’s lifespan. Children develop cognitive and social skills between 5 and 12 years old. Healthy growth during childhood involves giving children adequate emotional and social support. Children are naturally active and learn to explore their surroundings in the early years, which require social interactions with peers. According to Weir (2017), early social interactions influence a child’s wellbeing, and parents are more responsible for kids’ cognitive and social development, which either prevents or develops anxiousness. For example, parents who negotiate more than reprimand children for mistakes expose them to social anxiety disorders when reprimanded later in life.

Moreover, Children who grow up with social restrictions such as being forbidden from playing with others or going to school have higher risks of developing anxiety disorders. Children born with developmental problems are more vulnerable to developing mental ailments depending on their environmental and social surroundings (Belsky, 2015). Families that do not show affection to children with disabilities contribute to negligence and a higher chance of being socially outcast. Generally, Positive parenting is essential for children to develop into confident and socially active individuals.

Adolescent Development

Typically, children who do not receive treatment earlier end up having anxiety disorders into the adolescent stage. Adolescents develop anxiousness due to social and emotional influences such as peer pressure and self-consciousness. During adolescence, individuals grow physically, emotionally and gain more cognitive knowledge, which may be overwhelming to some adolescents (Belsky, 2015). Changes during puberty create self-awareness, which may boost or decrease an individual’s self-esteem.

Some adolescents develop social anxiety due to environmental conditions such as poor living conditions, creating social awareness from peers. Traumatic events and stigmatization are also significant contributors to adolescents developing anxiety disorders. However, Weir (2017) insists on childhood development as the leading cause of psychological illnesses. Therefore, medical researchers and psychologists should find ways of treating and preventing childhood disorders before they develop into serious mental illnesses later in life.


Anxiety disorder affects individuals at all developmental stages of a lifespan, but childhood is the most common stage at risk of anxiety. Apart from the genetic influence on mental illness, childhood experiences and proper parenting contribute to anxiety disorders. Children need a healthy childhood to develop into healthy adolescents. Medical researchers and psychologists should find the most efficient methods of diagnosing and treating mental complications in the early stages to prevent the progression of the condition into adulthood which may be fatal. Parents are more responsible for their children’s physical, emotional and cognitive development; therefore, positive parenting ensures a healthy child.


Belsky, J. (2015). Experiencing the lifespan (5th ed.). Worth Publishers.

Weir, K. (2017). Brighter futures for anxious kids. Web.

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PsychologyWriting. 2023. "Lifespan Development and Mental Disorders." September 26, 2023.

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PsychologyWriting. "Lifespan Development and Mental Disorders." September 26, 2023.