Societal Contexts of Child Development: Pathways of Influence and Implications for Practice and Policy

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9780199943913: Societal Contexts of Child Development: Pathways of Influence and Implications for Practice and Policy
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In the last half century, developmental scientists have become increasingly interested in studying contexts beyond the home environment that contribute to children's growth and development, including physical contexts such as schools and neighborhoods, as well as social contexts such as poverty. During this same period, a number of social trends have significantly impacted children's daily lives, including shifts in gender roles and expectations, the emergence of an early care and education system, and the proliferation of media technology.

Societal Contexts of Child Development provides comprehensive literature reviews for six broad contextual influences on children's development that have emerged as key areas of inquiry in contemporary society - gender, child care, culture and ethnicity, poverty, schools and neighborhoods, and media. In the spirit of applied developmental science, this book considers these six contextual domains in a series of two linked chapters written by experts in the interdisciplinary field of developmental science. The first chapter in each section is organized as a review of basic research relevant to a particular context, including a discussion of prominent theoretical and methodological issues. The second chapter in each section then addresses the same context from an applied research perspective, examining and documenting how research has been, can be, or should be used to enhance the everyday lives and developmental outcomes of children and their families through interventions and/or social policies. The book concludes with a chapter specifically dedicated to making connections between research and practice and an epilogue that situates the book's chapters within the field's study of contexts. Societal Contexts of Child Development will appeal to a broad audience of scholars, students, practitioners, and policymakers from the disciplines of psychology, sociology, economics, human development, and public policy.

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About the Author:


Elizabeth T. Gershoff, PhD, is Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Texas, Austin. Dr. Gershoff studies the impacts of parenting, poverty, community violence, neighborhoods, and school contexts on child and youth development over time.

Rashmita S. Mistry, PhD, is Associate Professor of Education at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Mistry's research examines the consequences of poverty and economic stress on family and child well-being, children's reasoning about social class and inequality, and the design and evaluation of elementary and middle school curricula focused on social and economic inequality.

Danielle A. Crosby, PhD, is Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Dr. Crosby studies the environments, programs, and policies that impact young children's development in the context of social and economic disadvantage.

Review:


"Studying the ways children are influenced by context is the key to understanding and improving their academic, social, and emotional development. This excellent volume documents how children are shaped by their families, schools, and neighborhoods, and constrained by gender, poverty, and the media. Researchers, practitioners, and policy makers will be informed by this valuable reminder to take seriously the diverse effects of context." -- Arnold Sameroff, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of Michigan


"Through the contributions of a singularly impressive group of developmental scientists, Societal Contexts of Child Development reflects and extends the vision and historically significant scholarly creativity of Aletha C. Huston. As embodied by her career achievements, this book integrates deep, theoretically rich understanding of individual-context relational processes of human development, sophisticated appreciation of developmental methodology, nuanced and insightful analyses of the research literature, and issues of application to policies and programs. The book exemplifies the rigor and relevance of the best of human development scholarship and constitutes required reading for current and future generations of developmental scientists." -- Richard M. Lerner, PhD, Bergstrom Chair in Applied Developmental Science and Director, Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development, Tufts University


"This book takes seriously the charge that Urie Bronfenbrenner set before us several decades ago: that truly understanding contextual influences requires us to study them not as unidirectional effects on individual development, but rather in transaction with individuals, with an interdisciplinary framework, and as the interplay between basic science and applied research. Dedicated to Aletha Huston, a giant whose enormous theoretical and empirical contributions have played a critical role in enriching research at the intersection of child development and policy, this volume propels us into the next frontier in research in developmental science." -- Pamela Morris, PhD, Professor of Applied Psychology, New York University


"What a fitting tribute to one of the most well-respected and influential scholars at the intersection of developmental science and public policy! This volume is chock-full of information and insight about trending issues. The chapter on policy in early care and education, for example, combines expert and insider perspectives on the trade-offs between access and quality and is sure to play a role in the coming national discussion about universal pre-kindergarten." -- Kenneth A. Dodge, Director, Center for Child and Family Policy; William McDougall Professor of Public Policy; Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University


"How do the contexts of children's lives outside of their own families shape their development? What can and should be done to contexts to enhance children's development? Compelling answers to these urgent questions lie between the covers of this comprehensive and generative volume. An outstanding team of editors and a 'who's who' list of authors assemble the most comprehensive and insightful picture of the field to date." -- J. Lawrence Aber, PhD, Willner Family Professor of Psychology and Public Policy, New York University


"In the prevailing bioecological model in contemporary developmental science, Bronfenbrenner underscored the significance of the macrosystem. Since then, "context" has become a watchword in child development. Nonetheless, conceptual theoreticians and empirical researchers alike continue to disregard or understate the disparate distal systems of influence in which children are inextricably embedded. This volume, in the capable hands of three insightful, innovative, and impressive editors, substantially corrects this shortcoming. Insightful, because the editors have identified critical societal contexts of child development to examine: gender, childcare, culture, class, schools, neighborhoods, media, and policy. Innovative, because they have paired complementary basic empirical and applied practical chapters to bracket each context. Impressive, because they have garnered a superior cast of interdisciplinary scientists who meet their charge. Discerning is the thinker and researcher who picks


up this volume; fortunate the one who profits by it." -- Marc H. Bornstein, PhD, Senior Investigator and Head of Child and Family Research at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and Editor, Parenting: Science and Practice


"The chapters have been well edited; they cover each topic in a nuanced way, suggest research gaps, and provide thoughtful conclusions along with extensive reference lists. The volume has a coherent narrative, almost like what one would expect in an authored book. I am widely recommending this excellent book. For example, early career scholars should read it before giving their first lectures in developmental psychology. STEM educators should consult some of the chapters before focusing solely on the cognitive approach to increasing female students' interest in these fields. Funders should read about programs that do not operate in a linear or decontextualized way. Finally, authors planning to submit articles to this journal should read the book to understand how to contextualize their own studies andmake appropriate claims for the application of their findings." --Judith Torney-Purta, Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology


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