Life of a Welsh Miner The story of Evan Thomas

This is the story of Evan Thomas. I will discuss changes and challenges affecting biological, cognitive and psychosocial across lifespan development from prenatal to late adulthood, (Annenberg learner psychology home, 2001). Addressing how nature (Biological processes) and Nurture(interpersonal processes) can impact on Evans life and challenges that arise during these stages, (Meyer, D. Wood, S. Stanly, B. 2013). Using psychosocial theorists to understand how development can be affected using the attachment theory that Bowlby suggests and trust vs mistrust suggested by Erikson. Also, using theories that influence behaviour such as continuity vs discontinuity, continuous vs discontinuous and static and dynamic and stage vs opened, (Development through the lifespan 2007).
Prenatal : conception to birth
Anne and David Thomas lived in a small mining village in Wales. David worked as a miner and Anna worked in a munitions factory. In May 1947 Anna discovered she was pregnant. Wales was recovering from the aftermath of the second world war, circumstances were difficult and food rationing was prevalent. Anna was undernourished and smoked throughout her pregnancy. Lack of money forced Anna to continue working until she was 30 weeks pregnant, her job was physical in difficult conditions, both living and working conditions were challenging not conducive to a healthy pregnancy.

The prenatal period is divided into three stages, germinal stage, embryonic stage and fetal stage. During the embryonic stage environment and lifestyle can cause complications, teratogens from poor living and working conditions, environmental toxins, malnutrition and smoking can affect the developing foetus, leading to miscarriage or cause birth defects. Organ development takes place in the fetal stage teratogens can impact on this affecting the prenatal brain which in the future can affect emotional and intellectual functioning. Smoking and malnutrition can cause low birth weight and early labour (Berger k. 2011).

Evan Thomas, Born 13 December 1947, weighing 5lbs
Evan Thomas was born on the 13th December 1947, weighing 5lbs. Evan immediately began rooting and Anna breastfed him. David returned to work leaving Anna home alone. Anna had no time to rest after Evans birth as she was expected to continue with household chores. Due to the shortage of food Anna would often go without meals. Evan was well cared for, and continued to breastfeed. David worked long hours, this affected his mood. Evan quickly bonded with his mother, and physically began to develop, he was able to hold his head un supported and roll over, at around four months he began to sit unsupported and soon began crawling. Intellectual development also developed enabling him to make noises and show an understanding of simple words.
Motor skills, rooting reflex and movement in controlled by reflex.
Psychological characteristics are developing, attachment is formed with primary caregiver.

Teratogens could have contributed to Evans development causing his low birth weight, biological development can be affected causing inadequately developed organs such as immature lungs. Poverty, sanitation, water supply, housing, food supply and general hygiene all posed risks and childhood illness were prevalent. Anna and Evan were entitled to Vitamins, the national vitamin welfare in 1942 ensured nursing mothers and children under five received free orange juice, vitamins and cod liver oil and the national Milk scheme ensured they received free milk ( Wartime women giving birth, 2013). This will given Evan required nutrients to assist with Physical development. According to Eriksons theory of trust vs mistrust ( simply psychology, 2013) Anna supported Evans Psychosocial developments as she was responsive towards him in a positive way, this will have developed his sense of trust. This could be a response to nurture however, Bowlby (Simply psychology, 2013) suggests that a baby is born it has an innate attachment with its mother, which would suggest nature. Infants are born with innate motor reflexes enabling them to suck and grasp, this will then support physical movement and coordination. Evans cognitive developments will support him with his first communications such as crying and other baby noises. Piagets theory suggests that from Birth -2 infants go through a sensorimotor intelligence stage in which they are processing new things, (Development through the lifespan, 2007)

Evan remained shy of his father as an attachment had not developed, when David was at home he was often drunk, tired and aggressive, this made Evan feel anxious around his father. Anna would interact with Evan playing and reading for many hours. This encouraged Evans physical development and intellectual development, he was soon putting small sentences together and playing with toys and began walking when he was 15 months old.
Cognitive development helps with language, communication, awareness and thinking.

In response to the nature nurture debate both Evans physical and emotional development are being stimulated from the environment provided by his mother and brain maturation . Motor skills can be a result of nature and nurture and not all infants develop at the same time, this can also be dependent on culture the dynamic theory would support this stage. According to Vygotskain ( Development through the lifespan, 2007) the positive and encouraging responses that Evan receives from his mother will encourage his cognitive development. Evan has not developed the sense of trust discussed by Erikson (2013) with his father as he has not responded to Evan in the same way as Anna has, this can affect Evans emotional development.

Pshycosocial development will promote independence and the development of personality traits.
Early Childhood 2-6 years
Cognitive developments help with social interactions, fine motor skills develop to help with writing and drawing.
Evan enjoyed playing with other children and his physical ability's developed, learning to run, skip, hop and ride a bike. His relationship with his mother remained secure. His fathers behaviours worsened, Evan was often scolded, he also witnessed on a number of occasions his father hitting his mother, although he did not understand this behaviour he knew it was wrong. In the years that followed Anna gave birth to two more children. Circumstances for Evan quickly changed the house very cramped and Anna became preoccupied with the increased family not giving the same attention to Evan as she once did. At the age of four Evan started school, leaving his mother was difficult. however he quickly settled made friends and bonded with his teacher. He began learning new things and exploring a new world. Evan began to look undernourished and his growth slowed, and he often had a cough. His clothes were tatty and he became aware of this and often compared him self to other children.
Biological development will increase physical ability to help with running, jumping and hopping.

This was typical at this time poorer families often struggled to feed and cloth their children adequately. His environment made him susceptible to illness such as coughs and chest infections. Malnutrition can affect growth, nature and nurture can both have contributing factors to this. His social development was encouraged by him making friends and bonding with his teacher. Comparing him self to others possibly becoming self conscious will impact on his emotional development His fathers behaviour could also impact on his emotional development as he has witnessed negative and unpredictable behaviour from his father this can cause mistrust and anxiety which can affect other stages in life development (simply psychology, 2013 ). His cognitive development according to preoperational stage where children develop through logical thinking is response to both nature and nurture as Piagets suggests that cognitive development is based on maturation and experience.

psychosocial - Gender awareness, imagination and becomes more aware of the world outside of home.
Age 6-11 years
Evan looked unkempt and was underweight. He still had a troublesome cough which affected him when he played any sport, he had frequent visits to the Doctor. He tried to do well at school but struggled academically. His behaviour began to change and he was often in fights.
Interpersonal skills develop, refinement of fine motor skills, problems solving and tolerance develops.

According to the nature nurture debate, nurture could be responsible for his behaviour, continuous development caused him to act on learned behaviours. Lacking attention at home and negative male influence was impacting on his education. His only male role model had responded negatively towards him, Bandura suggested that this behaviour could be imitated this would explain why Evan is getting into fights at school (Simply Psychology, 2016). Biologically his cough is affecting his physical capabilities. He will be able to receive medicine to help treat this since the start of the NHS (1948).

Adolescence 11-18
Evan failed his 11+, affecting his prospects in education. He left school and began working with his father down the mines, this expectation was normal to help bring money to the family. He worked long days in unsafe conditions. His undernourished frame and his already compromised chest struggled and he often coughed and wheezed. The more time he spent with his father he began to understand the stress mining work had caused him, a relationship began to develop between them. Evans body, voice and characteristics began to change as he reached puberty. Emotionally he did not feel he matched his growing body. He worried about working in the mines, as he had witnessed men die daily, but he continued to do so for his family. When Evan was 16 a tragic accident caused the death of his father. This had a profound effect on him and he mourned the relationship that had grown between them. Evan was now the main earner for his family, this responsibility left him with no time for a social life.
Puberty begins, issues with identity, psychological issues can develop.

Evans childhood was forced to come to a sudden end at the age of 11, failing his 11+ ceased his education (History learning site, 2016). Culture at this time placed the expectation on him that he would start work to help his family financially, the discontinuity theory would support this stage of his life. Biologically Evans body is going through physical developments with the onset of puberty prompted by an increased level of hormones. Cognitive maturation will support him to understand his father's behaviours and cope with the challenges he will face during this domain. His psychosocial developments are likely to be affected coping with the death of his father, Psychological disorders can emerge during adolescence . Erikson suggests that during this domain adolescents can experience identity crisis and friendship groups can help with this.

Early Adulthood
Phsyical appearance changes, organ systems begin to decline, need for attachment marriage or friendship.
Early Adulthood 18-40
Evan took his responsibility seriously caring for his mother and younger siblings, despite working long hours. He soon met his first girlfriend and it was not long until they married and they had their first son. Evan was a good father and husband, determined he would not treat his family in the same way his father had. Evan continued to suffer complications with his chest, the compromised air in the mines only worsened his condition. When Evan reached his early 50s he was made redundant, this had a huge effect on his life. Mining was the only job he had ever had, and to find a new job at this stage in his life was daunting for him.
Apperance continues to change, sight and hearing slowly declines more susceptible to illness or disease.


The nurturing environment Evan received from his mother from birth has ensured that his behaviours are different from his fathers the open- ended theory would support. The idiographic approach would also support Evan behaving different from his father based on his experience. Foundations are set from birth so despite negative impacts on his life later he has been able to behave differently. Biologically Evan is ageing making him more susceptible to illness. The compromising environment that he works in will only worsen this and can potentially affect his physical capabilities. Evan has only ever worked down the mines so to adapt to another work environment at this stage in life will be difficult. Cognitive developments, reaction time and mental processing will all be slowing down this may be problematic when looking for new employment, he may also face age discrimination. His physical development will be affected due to his breathing conditions which will rule him out for many jobs.

Late Adulthood 65+ years
Evans wife passed away and he was never able to obtain employment, he has spent the last 20 years unemployed. The development of lung disease has affected his health profoundly. He leads a sedentary lifestyle as he is unable to get out much. He spends most of his time in isolation reminiscing on his past life. He has come to the realisation that he will die soon but feels at peace with this.
Brain slows, immune system declines, language and memory declines but abilty to cope with stress and emotions increase.

Both Nature and nurture could be instrumental towards Evans health problems, he has experienced chest problems from early childhood, both environmental and biological may have contributed to this. Biologically his immune system will be weakening with age which can cause susceptibility to other chronic and acute illnesses, genetic pre-programming and wear and tear are all responsible for the ageing process. Cognitive development will be declining, he will be able to recall long term memories but his short-term memory will begin to decline. The disengagement lifestyle whereby he isolates himself is a normal part of a person's psychosocial domain when ageing. During this domain loss of a loved one is integrated in to life and they will anticipates their own death (Boundless, 2017). Evan will reflect on his life and although it has had some negative impacts emotionally he has developed an ability to cope with stress.


Created with images by Griffin Guiding - "Pit To Port" • simpleinsomnia - "Couple stands in a creek while taking a photo" • Children's Bureau Centennial - "3f05511r" • simpleinsomnia - "Crying boy with his teddy bear in a sandbox" • Michael 1952 - "Backyard" • tunaolger - "miner portrait black and white"

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