Lifespan Risk and Resilience

Subject SCWK50004 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 5 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 contact hours per semester (8 x 1.5 hour lecture, 8 x 1.5 hour seminar)
Total Time Commitment:

96 hours





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's courses. Students who think their disability will impact on meeting this requirement are encouraged to discuss this matter with the Course Coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Social Work
Melbourne School of Health Sciences
The University of Melbourne
Alan Gilbert Building, Level 7, 161 Barry St

Carlton Victoria 3010 AUSTRALIA
T: +61 3 8344 4171

F: +61 3 8344 4188

Subject Overview:

This subject examines the ways in which social work understands the inner and outer world dimensions of human vulnerability, adaptation and resilience across the lifespan. The usefulness of theories of grief, stress and trauma for understanding individuals’ capacity for coping with adversity is examined critically, as are understandings of diversity.

Learning Outcomes:

This subject explores individual and environmental sources of risk and resilience. Stress, trauma and grief theories are examined as they apply across the lifespan. At the end of this subject, you will be expected to be able to:

  • apply your understanding of a multidimensional approach to specific human experiences of adversity and diversity
  • analyse social contexts in relation to their oppressive and protective dimensions
  • identify significant biopsychosocial-spiritual transitions across the lifespan and the influence of gender, class, ethnicity, sexuality, and other dimensions of diversity on these transitions
  • critically assess the coping and adaptation processes of individual’s facing adversity and identify the implications for social work practice
  • critically reflect on these theoretical perspectives and their implicit value assumptions as well as your own subjective positioning.
  1. Written essay 2,000 words (40%) - due mid semester
  2. Written essay 3,000 words (60%) - due end of semester

Prescribed Texts:

Harms, L. (2010 2nd ed). Understanding human development: A multidimensional approach. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Readings will be available on the LMS.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • critically analyse texts and practices;
  • understand recent developments in social work contexts of practice;
  • link theory to practice;
  • competently communicate in ways relevant to both academic and practice contexts;
  • undertake independent research.
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Master of Social Work
Master of Social Work (250)

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