Preface

Since the first edition of the book, the field of developmental psychology has continued to grow at an extraordinary pace. Increasingly sophisticated and varied research methods now make it possible to examine the highly complex interactions among the many interrelated factors that contribute to children's cognitive, emotional, and social development. It is with these considerations in mind that we undertook our second edition.

The second edition of Child Psychology: A Handbook of Contemporary Issues is a new book in many ways. Although we retained a similar overall structure, and many of the contributors from the previous edition appear in this volume, there are significant changes from the earlier edition. To begin, chapters that appeared in the previous edition have been updated. Second, contributions from a number of outstanding researchers who did not appear in the previous edition have been introduced in various sections of this book. Third, a new section on adolescence has been introduced, which constitutes a major change that increases this volume's value as a comprehensive and practical course-related resource. Fourth, the section on ecological influences offers enhanced and extended coverage on contextual factors in development.

This edition builds on the four cornerstones that formed the basis of the chapters appearing in the earlier edition: (1) describing the nature of development and individual variation in developmental trajectories across multiple domains (social, emotional, cognitive, and language development); (2) attending to the multiple contexts or settings within which development unfolds—including family, school, neighborhood, and culture; (3) identifying the processes/mechanisms that underlie developmental and contextual change; and (4) applying cutting-edge research designs, methodologies, and analytic approaches to models of development and contextual change. These are covered in five sections: Infancy, Preschool Years, Childhood, Adolescence, and Ecological Influences.

Chapters in this handbook emphasize the nature of development and change. What is changing over the course of development and how might individual variation in patterns and trajectories of change be characterized? On the one hand, developmental researchers continue to make great strides in documenting what are referred to as "species-typical progressions" or "universal developmental processes." Chapters throughout this book present rigorous studies on developmental progressions that are common across the majority of infants, children, and youth in the domains of cognition, language, and social and emotional development. The authors complement these findings with equal consideration of intra- and interindividual variation across stages of reorganization. Why do different infants/children/youths display different patterns of developmental change? Differences among individuals are regarded as central to the generation and testing of developmental theories, rather than as random noise in the system.

Authors highlight the multiple, nested settings in which individuals develop. Families, schools, communities, and the overarching beliefs, ideologies, and practices of cultures and subcultures syn-ergistically shape children's development. When the unique characteristics of individual children are added to the equation, the challenge of understanding human development increases exponentially. Contexts are continually changing as well, at both "micro" and "macro" levels. For example, family interactions, the structuring of the home environment, and teachers' engagements change in response to characteristics of individual children from moment-to-moment, day-to-day, and over lengthier time frames. At a more "macro" level, institutions, schools, and neighborhoods change in response to social, political, and historical pressures. A task for developmental researchers is to document and understand these contextual changes in relation to social, cognitive, and emotional developments in children and youth. In response to this challenge, this second edition of the handbook contains a new section that emphasizes multiple contexts of development.

The field of developmental psychology has shifted away from an emphasis on describing the chronology of specific milestones, to a focus on theory and process, and this newer emphasis is evident throughout the chapters of this handbook. It is insufficient to describe a particular pattern or direction of change across successive ages in the absence of theories about how and why such changes occur. Identifying the start and end points of a specific developmental achievement is only the first step. How and why do children transition from point 1 to point 2? What mechanisms or processes underlie development? At a more concrete, empirical level, the challenge is to identify variables that are responsible for observed changes in specific constructs. The laws that govern change, the mechanisms underlying change, and the rules by which changes occur are central to developmental science.

The chapters of this volume present a plethora of rigorous research designs, methodologies, and analytic approaches that are commonly used in the study of development. This handbook, as its predecessor, contains original research by prominent investigators who address various issues in contemporary developmental research within their individual areas of expertise. These investigators each showcase their original research, and the product is a book that is replete with examples drawn from the full array of developmental methodologies. The diversity of research methods that are presented span laboratory experiments with infants; naturalistic observations of infants, children, and youth in homes and schools; surveys, qualitative interviews, and narratives with children, youth, parents, and teachers; and large-scale national studies on policies, neighborhood and poverty contexts, and preventive interventions.

The four developmental themes—the nature of change, the mechanisms/processes of change, developmental contexts, and multiple-methodological approaches—lie at the core of the contemporary research that is presented in this book. The book is divided into five sections.

The first section, Infancy, spans the period from birth to approximately age 3. This section highlights critical early achievements across the domains of development, including emotional self regulation (Grolnick, McMenamy, and Kurowski), temperament (Wachs), attachment (Belsky), language development (Tamis-LeMonda, Cristofaro, Rodriguez, and Bornstein), and perceptual organization and categorization (Quinn). These chapters demonstrate approaches to studying the competencies of babies and toddlers and the multiple factors that affect the earliest foundations of learning and development.

The section on the Preschool Years delves into the emerging cognitive, linguistic, and social-emotional competencies of this important period. As children bridge the period between infancy and childhood, their world widens to include new ways of engaging with peers, representing and acting upon their worlds, and reflecting on and talking about past and current experiences. These themes are captured in the five chapters of the section, which cover the topics of peer relations (Howes and Lee), pretend play and theory of mind (Kavanaugh), symbolic development (Uttal, Liu, and DeLoache), children recollections of the past (Hudson, Sheffield, and Deocampo), and narratives and story telling (Uccelli, Hemphill, Pan, and Snow).

The section on Childhood highlights developments that coincide with children's entry into school and their experiences across the middle school years. During this period of development, peer relationships become increasingly central to the formation of identity, and social comparisons permeate social constructions and interactions. Children's views about gender, self, and others shape psychological and behavioral patterns. Socioemotional competencies, newly emerging cognitive skills, and motivational factors are paramount in children's well-being and school success. These themes are reflected in the five chapters in this section, which cover peer relationships (Underwood, Mayeux, and Galperin), spatial and graphic representation (Liben), gender development (Miller, Trautner, and Ruble), academics and motivation (Eccles, Roeser, and Wigfield), and socioemotional functioning (Eisenberg and Fabes).

Section four represents a major addition to this volume. It focuses on issues that lie at the core of adolescence. Adolescence represents a period of major physical, cognitive, and social-emotional change.

As individuals set upon the path that leads them from the world of childhood to the responsibilities of emerging adulthood, they navigate a multitude of challenges and tasks that lay the foundation for the later years. These are captured in the four chapters that address issues such as pubertal changes (DeRose and Brooks-Gunn), the deeper meanings and qualities of friendships (Way, Becker, and Greene), the development of positive behavioral characteristics and outlooks (Lerner, Lerner, and colleagues), and conceptions of what it means to be an adult (Arnett).

The fifth section, Ecological Influences, reflects increasing appreciation of the ways in which various contexts interact to affect developmental trajectories. Here the focus is on the settings that are inextricably linked to children's cognitive, linguistic, and social-emotional capacities. The chapters highlight the roles of parents (Bradley and Corwyn), poverty (Ripke and Huston), family and community violence (Linares and Morin), culture (Leichtman), racial socialization (Hughes, Bachman, Ruble, and Fuligni), and neighborhoods and schools (Gershoff and Aber).

In summary, this edition of Child Psychology: A Handbook of Contemporary Issues brings to the reader a substantially updated and significantly expanded assortment of contributions. The topics are wide-ranging, the methodologies are varied, and the contexts are diverse. The programmatic research that has been prepared by an exceptional group of experts and is presented in these pages reflects the latest advances in the field of developmental psychology. The handbook provides professionals and advanced students with material that is comprehensive, cutting edge, and creative.

—Lawrence Balter and Catherine S. Tamis-LeMonda

New York University

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