Human Development: A Life-Span Approach

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9780023997723: Human Development: A Life-Span Approach

This practical and interesting read contains many anecdotes, real-life examples, and special features drawn from the author's extensive experience as a Marriage, Family and Child Counselor. It reflects the fascinating story of our development—and the development of others around us—to encourage readers to examine their lives and the lives of others. Chapter topics include the beginnings of human life; heredity, environmental influences, and prenatal development; cultural influences and individual differences on human development; child development; adolescent development; adult development; parenting issues, and death, dying, and bereavement. For anyone trying to understand how we have become the individuals we are today, and curious about how our development will change throughout our lives.

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From the Publisher:

This leading text combines unusually comprehensive, research-based coverage with a flexible organization that works for either chronological or topical course formats. Unlike most other texts, it provides nearly equal coverage of each of the three main stages of development: childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. For each stage, the text then examines physical, cognitive, social, and emotional aspects of development. The separate treatment of emotional development in each section is one of the book's unique strengths. This latest edition features new material in many key areas, including family structure, women's issues, multi-cultural comparisons, the handicapped, and the problems faced by today's adolescents. All topics are highlighted with boxed material and supported with a large number of current research references. As in the previous edition, the author's streamlined writing style and extensive counselling experience help clarify and personalize the discussions.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:


The story of human development is an exciting portrayal of life in the process of becoming. From conception to death, the drama unfolds, revealing an ever more complex being in the making. This story is about you, me, and everyone around us: how we began, how we grew and how we changed before we were born, during our infancy, childhood, adolescence, and adult years. As you read this story, examine your own life. Learn as much as possible about the various influences that have fashioned you into the person you are today. In doing so, you will acquire a keen understanding of the development of others. You will gain an appreciation for the factors that have influenced your friends and family, and learn how those factors have shaped their identities. By looking back and thinking about who you are and how you became you, you will be well equipped to set new sights for the future, and to adjust your own life course so that your development proceeds in the new directions that you chart for yourself.

Organization and Divisions
There are two basic ways to write about and teach the subject of human development. One method is the chronological approach, which presents all aspects of development during each separate stage of life. The other is the topical approach, which discusses each aspect of development through the entire life span. This text combines the best features of both approaches.

This life span development text is organized into five major parts. Part I provides an introduction to a life-span development perspective. It outlines the periods and theories of development, as well as the research methods used in studying this subject. Part II discusses heredity and environmental influences on development, prenatal development, childbirth, and the characteristics of the neonate. Parts III, IV, and V divide the life span into broad chronological age divisions: childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, respectively. Five topics are discussed within each of these age categories: perspectives, and physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development. While each of these dimensions emphasizes a particular aspect of development, there is a considerable interdependency among them all. Equal attention is given to these three major age groups, reflecting an emphasis on development throughout the life span. This is important because many development books will devote a majority of space to the discussion of the child at the expense of the adolescent and adult. The topical presentation within each of these age groups makes this text ideal for use in courses emphasizing either a topical or chronological approach to life span development.

Developmental Theory
The aim of this text is not to adopt and present one theory of development. Rather, it is to reflect an eclectic point of view that recognizes the wide variety of theories that can contribute to the total picture of human development, and select the most important ideas from those numerous theoretical positions. The result is a modern philosophy of human development that provides a comprehensive understanding of the theories of developmental psychology.

Development is explored as a life-span process, influenced by the interaction of heredity and the environment, beginning with conception and continuing until death (or after death, as some believe). This text examines how development can be seen as simultaneously continuous and discontinuous, controllable and beyond our control, stable and changing. There are many different theories that can tell the story of human development across the life span, and it is the similarities we find in these theories that teach us about ourselves and each other.

Features o f the Text
What is studied must be relevant. This text deftly applies academic and scholarly principles to our everyday lives, personalizing discussions through the use of many real-life examples, case studies, anecdotal stories and quotations gathered from the author's extensive experience as a Marriage, Family and Child Counselor.


In addition to the flexible organization of this book, the eclectic theoretical approach, and the application of principles to our everyday experiences, a solid research base offers an authoritative introduction to the field of developmental psychology. Over 2,000 references are included, with over 500 from research completed within the last three years. Background information on the studies is provided, but the findings are incorporated into the body of the text so that the emphasis is on the subject rather than the details of the studies.


Special boxed features, entitled Parenting Issues, Living Issues, and Focus are integrated within each chapter to highlight contemporary issues and concerns.

  • Parenting Issues presents practical solutions to problems in raising children and adolescents.
  • Living Issues highlights everyday problems and issues faced by adolescents and adults, and enables students to see the relevance of the topics to their own lives.
  • Focus discusses research findings, opinions, and viewpoints about interesting and timely developmental issues. Professors can highlight individual topics of special interest to enliven classroom discussion.

The boxes illuminate a wide range of issues and topics that are also explored throughout the text. These issues include Human Sexuality, Marriage and Emotional Development, Issues of the Handicapped, and Television and Computers in Our Lives, just to name a few. Women's Issues such as feminist methodology in research, female empowerment, self-esteem, and the changing role of women are explored. Adolescent Issues such as sex education, contraceptives, unwanted sexual aggression and teen violence are also discussed.

New to this Edition
Careful attention has been given to the task of editing, correcting and updating the material in this edition. Material deemed no longer relevant has been replaced or updated in order to provide current and relevant information.


There are a number of new topics that are addressed in this edition, some of which are listed below:

  • Maternity leaves and childbirth
  • Children's inner speech
  • Magic and the supernatural
  • Critique of attachment theory
  • Foster care, adoption reunion
  • Revision of SAT
  • Antibiotic steroids
  • Relationship between physiological functioning and emotions
  • Sexual abuse of children
  • Writing
  • Child-care arrangements
  • Expression and control of anger
  • Adolescent physical development
  • Correlates of juvenile violence


The following topics have been updated to include more current information:

  • Masturbation
  • Population trends
  • Changes in late adulthood
  • Sleep
  • Information processing
  • Premarital sexual intercourse
  • Middle age
  • Adult physical development
  • Adult differences in intelligence
  • Adult emotional development
  • Pregnancy
  • Height/weight
  • Cholesterol Expression Control


Each chapter contains a detailed outline at its beginning. At the end of each chapter you will find a summary, a list of key terms, questions for discussions, and suggested readings. Within each chapter, the key terms are printed in boldfaced type; they are defined next to the text as well as in the glossary at the end of the book. Key thoughts and phrases in selected paragraphs are italicized throughout. The text includes a full bibliography of references as well as author and subject indexes. A listing of internet resources has also been added.


  • An Instructor's Manual with Tests is provided to the: teacher. This manual includes learning objectives, extended lecture outlines, teaching strategies, individual and classroom activities, suggested test questions, ands suggested video tapes for each chapter. (ISBN 0-13-018566-3)
  • Prentice Hall Custom Tests are available in two platforms„ Windows and Macintosh, to allow instructors complete: flexibility in building and editing their own customized tests. (Windows ISBN 0-13018567-1; Macintosh ISBN 0-13-018568-X)
  • Prentice Hall Color Overhead Transparencies for Human Development are also available and can be used to add visual appeal to your discussion of key concepts in Developmental Psychology. (ISBN 0-13-233131-4)
  • Psychology on the Internet 1999-2000 is designed to enhance the effectiveness of the textbook by helping students capitalize on all the resources that the Internet and World Wide Web have to offer. (ISBN 0-13022074-4)
  • ABC News/Prentice Hall Video Libraries: Consisting of brief segments from award-winning programs such as "Nightline," "20/20," "Prime Time Live," and "The Health Show," these videos discuss current issues and are a great way to launch your lectures. The following three videos are ideal for adopters of this text:
    Human Development 1998 (ISBN 0-13-888272-X)
    Child Development 1995 (ISBN 0-13-367327-8)


  • A Study Guide provides students with chapter outlines, learning objectives, key terms, applications exercises, and self-test questions. (ISBN 0-13-018569-8)
  • New York Times Supplement for Human Development is a complimentary newspaper supplement produced through a joint venture between Prentice Hall and the New York Times containing recent articles discussing issues and research. (ISBN 0-13-013998X)
  • The Human Development Companion Website is an online study guide providing unique tools and support to integrate the World Wide Web into your course. It can be found at

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