Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development

pp 1018-1020

Non-Normative Life Events

  • Theodora KoulentiAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Nicosia Email author 
  • , Xenia Anastassiou-HadjicharalambousAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Nicosia


Atypical and major lifetime events


The term non-normative life events describe significant, unexpected and unpredictable events, for a particular individual, which do not follow the predictable developmental pattern of life-cycle.


Non-normative life events are those that occur unexpectedly, such as natural disasters, loss of a family member and war. Even in cases that death or illness, in specific ages, are statistically considered normative, they are actually non-normative. They are still unexpected and undesired events, associated with severe effects [5]. Non-normative events may be comprised of both negative and positive events, such as death of a beloved person or winning in a lottery. However, in both cases, they are unexpected and slightly related to chronological age [6].

Life-span developmentalists assert that individual development is deeply affected by age-graded, history-graded and non-normative factors. Features, such a ...

This is an excerpt from the content