Socio-cultural Factors Affecting Development | 11 Page

socio-cultural factors affecting development

The nurture versus nature debate as psychologists seeks to determine the dominant predictors of human behavior and consequently experience throughout their life. Nature represents the experience is usually prewritten by biological factors and genetic inheritance to the process of development. Nurture, on the other has suggested that from conception, the experience and behavior are influenced by external factor sector, as the individual adapts to their environment.

The deterministic approach to psychology provides that an individual’s behavior tends to be predictable and has a cause. Therefore the development of an individual may be influenced by their external environment, and they tend to depict behavior behaviors that facilitate their adaption to these conditions. Internal determinism looks into the internal factors that influence the individual’s behavior, for example, genetic inheritance. Therefore, an individual’s behavior through the various stages of development is a factor of their biological, economic, social, and cultural processes. Therefore, this paper will analyze the sociocultural factors affecting development in terms of cognitive, socio-emotional, motor-skills, and personality development across the various stages of the individual’s development.

sociocultural factors affecting development

Culture is the blueprint shared by a group of people, and through the concepts of right and wrong, determines human behavior. It teaches them how to live and advances within the social setting, and the solutions found passed spread across the culture and passed down through generations. Therefore, culture is learned through various established social institutions such as religion, education, and family throughout the individual’s lifetime. However, these values, practices, and expectations within a given culture evolve as societal needs change.

Cultural relativity facilitates the understanding of how different culture emerges and the effect on the development of the individual. Culture is, therefore, a significant influence on the development of the individual. Hence, it is a good predictor of their development, which can be experienced by the difference in biological events, such as menstruation among young girls across different cultures. During the early stages of development, the effectiveness of parenting care, which tends to be vastly different across cultures, influences the child’s socio-emotional, cognitive and physical development through the rest of their life.

Developmental psychology facilitates the application of the scientific method by studying various changes that occur across the individual’s lifespan, from the time they are conceived to the time their die. This study would be incomplete without considering the cross-cultural and comparative analysis of the influence of the process of development among human beings. Through culture accumulation and innovation, the knowledge and skills continue to influence the development of the individual across time.

Understanding the dynamic between the physical world, culture, and development process are thus, critical. The socio-cultural context facilitates the socioeconomic influence on the equality of life and the process of development. To understand how this information is disseminated, it is important to understand social learning, which is as a result of the instinctual desire to acquire information in an attempt to understand the world better. This tendency begins with the over-imitation observed among children and tended to increase across the lifetime. There are, however, cultural differences in social learning tendencies.

Social age represents the cultural expectations of various milestones at various times in the individual’s chronological age. This reaffirms the psychodynamic perspective of Sigmund Freud’s theory of psychosexual development, whereby he suggested that individual, at an early age, manage their instincts and socially acceptable behavior. Lev Vygotsky, suggests an interaction between cognitive development and cultural context.

Cultural Impact on Prenatal Development

The cultural impact of the prenatal development of an individual often takes place through the cultural impact on the mother’s experience during the pregnancy. Prenatal brain development, which involved neurogenesis, is one of the most impactful processes in the development of the individual across their lifetime and is very vulnerable to external conditions. The extent to which the risk sociocultural factors affecting development depends on the timing and amount of the fetus’s exposure, number teratogen, genetics, and sex.

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy has a significant influence on the development. It is influenced by the cultural perception of alcohol during these periods. For example, in the United States, unplanned pregnancy tends to happen (Helwig & Ruprecht, 2017). The mother is unaware of the pregnancy and continues to consume alcohol, impacting the mothers’ cognitive development through poor judgment, impulse control, and low intelligence quotient.

Suppose the mother is in a socio-cultural context where exposed illicit drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, and poor diet are common, the child’s brain development is severely affected. A culture whereby motherhood skews towards the age of above thirty-five years, for example, due to careers and education, affects the child’s development through premature birth, miscarriage, and high blood pressure, which is felt across the lifetime. The socio-cultural awareness of mental health impacts the mother’s handling of hormone-related stress levels, and the availability of the remedies impacts the health and development of the fetus.

A socio-cultural context that does not support the mother’s mental health can also lead to depression and, consequently, physical development as they tend to be born lightweight and prematurely (Helwig & Ruprecht, 2017). Low birth weight is associated with autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and attention-deficit disorder later on in life. Therefore, the impact of the culture within which an individual is conceived may influence the mother’s hormonal levels, which directly impacts the development of the individual.

Sociocultural Factors affecting Development during Infancy and Toddlerhood

Parents cause sociocultural factors affecting development the infant’s development through the decisions that the pants make and culture directly impacting the development of the individual during infancy. How the parental manage s the child’s sleeping schedule depends on their knowledge and social-cultural context. One such example is whether the infant is supposed to share the bed with their parents has an impact on the quality of sleep and the bonding between them and the parents and thus their cognitive, psychosocial, and emotional development across their life.

Co-sleeping is a practice that is more common in collectivist cultures, which promote interdependence. The infants’ sensitivity to pain tends to correlate with various cultural practices such as circumcision of male infant, which tends to reduce the oxygen in the blood, heart rate, and blood pressure, increasing the individual sensitivity t of pain.

The sociocultural factors affecting development the habituation procedures, which influence the individual’s vocal and non-vocal intelligence. Breast milk is the dominant source of nutrition during infancy. The practice of breastfeeding tends to vary across cultures, as the practice reduces as societies across the world tend to westernize, improving overall socioeconomic well-being. This tends to influence the overall development of the individual.

The sociocultural factors affecting development for an indiviadua; also influences how solid food is introduced to the infant and the type of solid food introduced. Languages tend to be vastly different across cultures, and they tend to influence cognitive development and consequently the overall individual intelligence. The first world that an individual tends to be directly influenced by their socio-cultural context, such as the high frequency of verbs in Mandarin, facilitates the individual’s recognition of actions.

In contrast, the introduction of names of objects in Western culture facilitates the recognition of objects. This has an impact on the individual’s thinking patterns across a lifetime. The social nature of the language facilitates the individuals represents the social, cultural impact on the individual’s cognitive development. Parenting behaviors tend to be a factor of the culturally acceptable behavior, which direly influences the psychosocial environments within which the individual is bred.

Sociocultural Factors affecting Development during Early Childhood

As the individual’s motor skills develop between two and six years, the drawing transforms from scribbles according to their socio-cultural experience mirroring their immediate environment. Toilet training is another practice that varies vastly across cultures depending on the child’s readiness, for example, taking place between the ages of 18 months and 26 months in the United States, something that is expected to happen soon after birth in the Digo culture in East Africa.

This has an overall impact on the individual daytime bladder control, thus eliminating elimination disorders that impact the child’s emotional well-being. During early childhood, the individual is trained to feed themselves. Their socio-cultural context influences their nutritional intake; for example, in the United States, children within this age bracket consume 40 percent of the calorie intake through sugars.

The recreational activity that the individual engages in impacts their motor skill development and intellectual capabilities, for example, pottery making among young children in Mexican villages, which is a preoperation that facilitates cognitive development in childhood (Callaghan & Corbit, 2018). The individual then actively and independent attempts to understand the world, organize information, and develop independent theories whenever the explanations provided by the adults do not add up.

Active training is necessary for aspects like language, as elaboration and accurate pronunciations are encouraged, which vary across cultures. The concept of gender tends to be introduced during this age, something that takes place through parenting, social media, school, religion, and peers. After knowing the child’s sex, the parents’ behavior is conjured towards their mirroring the respective gender through appearance, potential, and behavior, which are sociocultural factors affecting development (Valentine-French et al., 2019).

The parenting style impacts the individual’s overall development and may vary vastly between authoritarianism, permissiveness, and being uninvolved, all of which are sociocultural factors affecting development. Through the culture, the individual gains qualities such as individualism and collectivism, all of which impact the child’s overall well-being.

socio-cultural impact

Middle and Late Childhood

Sports tend to be introduced between the ages of six and eleven; however, sports vary across the socio-cultural spectrum; for example, the common sport during this age in the United States is soccer. The activities influence the child’s social and athletic skills and cognitive, emotional, and physical development. Through these activities, childhood obesity can be regulated.

This is a problem during late childhood as the individual’s appetite increases. However, the foods they are exposed to are influenced by their culture; for example, in Asian culture, the individual is trained to eat healthy foods. The diet impacts their motor and cognitive development; for example, the consumption of excess saturated fats and sugars impacts their cognitive development.

The nature of education influences the child’s critical thinking abilities by introducing them to understanding information and its credibility, analysis of the information, and value judgments. Education plays a critical role in the individual’s cognitive development and is influenced by peers, gender, and school experience (Valentine-French et al., 2019). The concept of the self and self-esteem are critical concerns in adolescence, as they gradually learn to be more considerate to their peers and develop competence within their social circles.

They also undergo a psychological moratorium, which is the teenager’s desire to commit to an identity. They also experience identity confusion as they consistently explore various identities. This ends at identity achievement, whereby the adolescents engage in an identity. The multiple aspects of identity are religious, political, vocational, gender, ethnicity, and sexual identity.

Through education, society can shape the child’s expertise, risk-taking, imaginative thinking, and intrinsic interest. The parental enhancement informal education, which varies across cultures, has a significant impact on educational outcomes. The cultural differences influence various practices within the education system in class; for example, bilingualism is likely to enhance the individual’s cognitive development. The socio-cultural perception of disability also impacts the individual’s physical, cognitive, and socioemotional development (Valentine-French et al., 2019).

Cultures that accept persons with disabilities enhancing the overall well-being of the individual. The concept of the self is deeply rooted in the context within which the individual grows. During this age, the child begins to engage in intentional social interactions through peers, as their esteem is oriented towards the perception of the peers. There are, however, no significant differences in the quality of parenting among homosexual and heterosexual parents.


There are cultural differences when puberty begins, with African-Americans developing earliest whereas the Asian American girls are developing last. This influences the individual’s mental health, with mental health problems being associated with too early or too late. The intensity of tender role tends to differ across cultures, both in recreational and academic activities. The nature of the activity depends on their environment and cultural perception of the activity.

One of the most significant culturally-induced health risks during this is eating disorders, something that can be liked to body image issues, and something that the increased use of social media has exenterated. This has health consequences such as low blood pressure increasing the heart failure risk (Valentine-French et al., 2019). The education system impacts the development of the individual and is a factor of the individual’s academic and socialization.

Peers tend to influence academic success expectations and are a major source of motivation during this age. During this age, the individual is exposed to independence, freedom, and responsibility by teaching them how to drive. As the individual struggles with their relationship with society, they are exposed to the concept of self as they seek their purpose in life. This is influenced by their sexuality, social, vocational, and religious identities. However, during this age, the individual tends to associate more with the dominant culture rather than on the ethnic identity. They tend to explore various cultures as they assess their prejudices of various people.

Homophile, which is the tendency of teenagers with similar interests to spend time together, tends to reaffirm their identity and interact with their socio-cultural ecosystem. Therefore, it is clear that the socio-cultural context has a greater influence on development during this age, which can be attributed to searching for their authentic self within their cultural context.

sociocultural factors affecting development

Emerging and Early Adulthood

Between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five, the individual undergoes a process of identity exploration, which is referred to as prolonged adolescence in modern Western culture. During this age, the “adult” is culturally expected to go through instability through their choice of vocation and the frequency of different romantic relationships (Strout et al., 2017). However, their socioeconomic status impacts their mental health as they explore its impact on their romantic, social, and educational prospects.

During this age, it is the sociocultural factors affecting development that determines whether the individual can be refered as an adult. In the United States, most individuals tend to live with their parents during this age and cannot be referred to as adults. However, in most cultures, any individual who gets into marriage or parenthood during this age is considered to have opted into adulthood. Therefore, living arrangements are a significant socio-cultural consideration on whether the individual is an adult (Valentine-French et al., 2019).

Even though the individual is usually at their physiological peak, they tend to engage in risky behavior, resulting in injuries and at-time pregnancies. Individuals tend to enable drug and alcohol abuse, which impacts their overall health across their lifetime. Sexuality is a conspicuous aspect, which depends on the cultural perception of sexuality. The cultural perception of various behavior such as premarital sex and cohabitation has a significant impact on the development.

During this age, the individual is expected to assess their career prospects as they pursue various possibilities. Culture diverting during this age facilitates the individual expression of their authentic self, as they seek to develop a unique and stable personality. Social interaction during this age is based on behavioral qualities with people which similar styles getting attracted to each other.

Middle Adulthood

During this age, the individual physiological capabilities tend to reduce from their peak, as they tend to begin aging. However, the impact of chronological age on their physical bodies depends on the individual socio-cultural context. The cultural pressure to enhance exercise and a healthy diet to improve physical well-being impacted their overall wellness (Valentine-French et al., 2019). Therefore, even though obesity is expected to be prevalent during this age, the individual effort to determine their physical well-being relies on the socio-cultural context.

There are also cultural influences on various biological events during this age, such as menopause, which can be observed in Mayan culture. They do not have a word for this process and do not show the symptoms; unlike the United States, these symptoms are quite conspicuous. In the United States, menopause is perceived to be the loss of youth, which causes emotional stress t many women.

The culture also determines whether the individual seeks medical checkups to get early treatment for various age-related diseases such as prostate cancer. In an attempt to increase their expertise and their socioeconomic standing, individuals tend to return to education during this age. Activities like taking time off work have significant benefits during this age, which facilitates job satisfaction and family obligations. However, the pressure for an individual to take work live emanates from their social-cultural context (Valentine-French et al., 2019).

A midlife crisis is one of the symptoms of the conflict between the self and society. The individual gains skills and expertise during this age as they specialize their knowledge and skills and novice in aspects that fall outside of their spectrum of specialization. At this age, the individual is likely to undergo a middle-life crisis.

They experience stress associated with their social relationships, spouses, and dependents, which can be regulated by addressing the problem, causing stress, and regulating the emotional aspect of the stress. The individual tends to examine their achievements so far in life and their implications to other people.

The normalization of this crisis has an impact on the mental health of people during this age. Social isolation during this age tends to be a source of stress, facilitating social integration (Keller, 2018). The cultural expectation on how the individual handles social roles impacts their social standing and thus mental health. Therefore, it is clear that the individual’s well-being relies heavily on how they navigate their overall health and social roles.

Late Adulthood

Due to the differences in life expectancies across cultures, an individual’s experience tends to vary; for example, with the increasing number of elderly adults, the prevalence of abuse for this demographic has increased. The quality of life during this age depends on various lifestyle factors and socioeconomic status. The health problems that occur during this age tend to reduce the overall quality of life.

The cultural influence on their nutrition impacts their overall health and thus their ability to navigate the various chronic illnesses that may occur during this age. During this age, a healthy functioning brain is facilitated by the engagement in physical activities, which is heavily influenced by whether their cultural context facilitates overall wellness. The ability to navigate the various health problems during this age relies on the information advantage, hence a factor (Strout et al., 2017).

Various problems such as ageism are a determinant of the quality of life during this age and tend to be a socio-cultural context. For example, in westernized culture, senior citizens undergo maltreatment, unlike in Asian cultures where the elderly get good treatment. The social network is an essential tool to navigate the various age-related life challenges and purely based on their social connection and enjoying time. The individual’s lack of economic time increases their time of solitude, which tends to impact their mental health negatively.

In conclusion, sociocultural factors affecting development across the individual’s lifespan and, consequently, their mental health. This has been proven by comparing various aspects across culture and the impact of particular cultural practices on the well-being of the individual and how this tends to accumulate across the lifetime. However, the various positive changes continue to even at later life stages, for example, the accumulation of knowledge for an individual who is relatively healthy (Strout et al., 2017).

It is also clear that healthy the maintenance of wellness, involving the intellectual, social, spiritual, emotional, and physical health with activities like exercise and a consistently healthy diet can help improve the quality of life across the individual lifespan. The individual’s ability to navigate the socio-cultural environment tends to increase with age, with the navigation of the various identity crisis across a lifetime reaffirming the identity of the self.

socio-cultural impact


Callaghan, T., & Corbit, J. (2018). Early prosocial development across cultures. Current opinion in psychology20, 102-106.

Helwig, N. E., & Ruprecht, M. R. (2017). Age, gender, and self-esteem: A socio-cultural look through a nonparametric lens. Archives of Scientific Psychology5(1), 19.

Keller, H. (2018). Universality claim of attachment theory: Children’s socioemotional development across cultures. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences115(45), 11414-11419.

Patil, D., Enquobahrie, D. A., Peckham, T., Seixas, N., & Hajat, A. (2020). Retrospective cohort study of the association between maternal employment precarity and infant low birth weight in women in the USA. BMJ open10(1), e029584.

Strout, K., Jemison, J., O’Brien, L., Wihry, D., & Waterman, T. (2017). GROW: Green organic vegetable gardens to promote older adult wellness: A feasibility study. Journal of community health nursing34(3), 115-125.

Valentine-French, S., Lally, M., & Lang, D. (2019). Lifespan Development: A Psychological Perspective Second Edition.

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