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Developmental Theories Through the Life Cycle

Developmental Theories Through the Life Cycle

Sonia G. Austrian Editor
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: 2
Pages: 440
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  • Book Info
    Developmental Theories Through the Life Cycle
    Book Description:

    In this bestselling textbook, contributors describe theories of normal human development advanced by such pioneers as Sigmund Freud, Anna Freud, Jean Piaget, Nancy Chodorow, Daniel Levinson, Erik Erikson, and Margaret Mahler. Beginning with infancy, toddlerhood, and preschool, each chapter examines corresponding ideologies concerning maturation and development in middle childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age, while acknowledging that no one theory can encompass all aspects of human development. In-depth analyses of the psychology and sociology of development provide educators and practitioners with insights into the specific social contexts of human behavior and help identify variables and deviations. This second edition features up-to-date empirical information, including additional studies on diverse populations, and a new chapter on attachment theory, a growing area of interest for today's clinicians.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-51301-2
    Subjects: Sociology, Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)
    Sonia G. Austrian

    The life cycle, until recently, has been neither descriptive nor conceptual but metaphorical, suggesting an underlying sequence of events that everyone experiences rather than clear external milestones of development, although every life, of course, is acknowledged to be unique. The awareness that individuals go through several major life phases dates back to the ancient Talmudic writings, the Chinese sage Confucius, and the Greek lawyer and poet Solon (Levinson and Gooden 1985:2). These writings differ with regard to religious and cultural context, but they all identify several life stages: a formative pre-adult period up to the ages of fifteen to twenty;...

  5. TWO Infancy, Toddlerhood, and Preschool
    (pp. 7-78)
    Sonia G. Austrian

    Although it is during infancy, toddlerhood, and early childhood, from birth to age six, that the greatest physical and mental growth and development occur, the literature shows that these life stages received little scholarly attention until the early twentieth century. No significant theories about mental development were created, and the information that existed was based on limited secondary sources. For many centuries, infants and children were regarded as incapable of complex thoughts and feelings about their world. The child’s mind was seen as unorganized and unformed, and childhood experiences were felt to have little effect on later life. As a...

  6. THREE The Journey of Middle Childhood: Who Are “Latency”-Age Children?
    (pp. 79-132)
    Nancy F. Cincotta

    Children from approximately age five through twelve or to the beginning of puberty are considered to be in “middle childhood.” These are the years typically thought of and remembered as childhood, a time of carefree activities and of extraordinary cognitive growth. The naïveté of infants and toddlers gives way to an inquisitive nature that explores beyond the repetitive “why” question to learn in more detail the who, what, where, when, and how of life.

    Although still deeply rooted within their families, children in these middle years begin to think more autonomously, assert their independence, and form bonds with their peers...

  7. FOUR Adolescence
    (pp. 133-200)
    Sonia G. Austrian

    The well-known Harvard University psychiatrist Robert Coles has noted that adolescence has commanded more attention than any other period of life from novelists, social scientists, and journalists. He postulates that this may be because the habits, interests, and developing sexuality of adolescents “have a hold on us that is tied to our own memories.” Coles further believes that the power of attachment adults feel toward their adolescents is because these youngsters are “reminders, legatees, and long-standing witnesses to our lives” (Coles 1998:135–36).

    The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines adolescence as “the process or condition of growing up; the period...

  8. FIVE Adulthood
    (pp. 201-284)
    Sonia G. Austrian

    Adulthood, the longest period in the life cycle spanning the years from adolescence to old age, has received the least scholarly attention, although “pop” psychology has granted it more coverage, especially regarding the concept of a “midlife crisis.” While theorists have long been interested in childhood and adolescence, interest in gerontology only became apparent in the 1950s. This did not come about because social science professionals evoked a greater interest but because of increased government funding for programs and services for the elderly. It was not until the 1960s, with the influence of Erik Erikson, that adulthood became an era...

  9. SIX Developmental Theories of Aging
    (pp. 285-364)
    Patricia J. Kolb

    As individuals go through their lives, their functioning in each stage of development is influenced by interrelated biological, psychological, and social factors that contribute to experiences in later adulthood. Atchley has suggested that aging includes many processes and possible outcomes, and the reality is that it may be either positive or negative. Older persons may engage in activities requiring experience, wisdom, and skill, and may serve as advisers and keepers of tradition. Aging may bring personal peace, freedom, and opportunity. It may also bring losses of physical or mental capacities, employment and income opportunities, appearance, positions in organizations, friends, and...

  10. SEVEN Attachment Theory
    (pp. 365-414)
    Sonia G. Austrian and Toni Mandelbaum

    Attachment theory was first developed in the 1950s by John Bowlby, a British psychoanalyst, and the past decade has seen increasing interest in its ideas. The theory evolved over time, influenced by psychology, biology, cognitive theory and Darwin. Its fundamental premise is that children are born with a predisposition to become attached to their caregivers, and that early disturbances in primary attachment relationships can lead to lifelong feelings of insecurity and to a distorted capacity to develop and sustain meaningful relationships. Bowlby first saw attachment theory as an explanation of social and personality development throughout the life span rather than...

  11. Epilogue
    (pp. 415-418)
    Sonia G. Austrian

    Developmental theories serve as guidelines for determining “normal” behaviors, skills, and parameters for a defined age group. They also help professionals assess developmental progress and identify variables and deviations. No one theory, however, encompasses all aspects of human development, and most theories reflect the culture and life experience of those who developed them.

    Although these theories provide a baseline for the study of human development, caution must be used to avoid the hasty interpretation of some behaviors as abnormal when they are actually normal. Normal developmental milestones do include significant biological, psychological, emotional, intellectual, and social points of reference that...

  12. List of Contributors
    (pp. 419-420)
  13. Index
    (pp. 421-428)