Psychology (PSYC) 381

Psychology of Adult Development (Revision 5)

PSYC 381 Course website

Revision 5 is closed for registrations, replaced by current version

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study or grouped study. Online-enhanced.

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: A 200-level psychology course is recommended.

Precluded Course: PSYC 381 cannot be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for PSYC 363.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Psychology home page

PSYC 381 has a Challenge for Credit option.

Course website

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PSYC 381 explores psychological developments, changes, and adjustments during adulthood and aging. The course covers current psychological and psychosocial theories and research findings relevant to adult development. Importantly, there is a strong emphasis on the application of research findings to everyday life. The translation of research findings to the applied setting demonstrates nicely how research can be used to improve the quality of adult life.

In this course, we will provide comprehensive coverage of normal aging across the physical, cognitive, social, & psychological dimensions. We will also consider the role of the environment and how it fits with the aging individual. We will conclude our coverage with a consideration of end-of-life issues and the important concept of successful aging. This course is particularly suited to students with career interests in nursing, medicine, and allied health fields, social work, and clinical psychology. Moreover, coverage of the normal aging process and of issues related to work and retirement make this course beneficial to students who plan careers in the public sector (business, service industries, retail). As our society continues to age, students who plan careers in business and service industries will increasingly have contact with the older worker and consumer where knowledge about the aging process will be of direct relevance. Finally, the course is attractive to students who seek to enhance their understanding of their own and others’ development across the lifespan. Regardless of why you chose this course, I hope you find the course interesting and useful as part of your academic learning. Best wishes for success!


  • Unit 1 - Concepts, Theories and Method
  • Unit 2 - Physical Aging
  • Unit 3 - Cognitive Aging
  • Unit 4 - Social Aging
  • Unit 5 - Mental Health
  • Unit 6 - Environment
  • Unit 7 - End-of-Life and Successful Aging


To receive credit for PSYC 381, you must complete the course quizzes, a research paper, and an examination. You must achieve a composite course grade of at least “D” (50 percent) and a grade of at least 50 percent on the final examination. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Unit Quizzes (7 at 5% each) Literature Review Paper Final Exam Total
35% 30% 35% 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Cavanaugh, J. C. and Blanchard-Fields, F. (2011). Adult Development and Aging (6th ed). Belmont CA: Wadsworth.

Other Materials

Unit study guides, a student manual, and an assignment manual are available online on the course website.

Challenge for Credit Course Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university level course.

Full information for the Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

The challenge requirement for PSYC 381 is a written invigilated examination and research paper. To receive credit for the PSYC 381 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least "D" (50 percent) on the examination and obtain a composite mark of at least "D" (50 percent).

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 5, August 9, 2012.

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