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The Life Course Paradigm: Conceptual and Theoretical Foundations

  • George P. Moschis
Chapter

Abstract

The term “paradigm” is broadly used to imply a combination of theories, methods, and evidence (Alford 1998). Shanahan et al. (2016a) point out that “compared to a theory…the content, boundaries and emphasis of a paradigm are less easy to identify with a high degree of consensus” (2016a: 3). As researchers tend to apply the life course concept differently not only according to their disciplinary backgrounds (e.g., Alwin 2012) but also within their specific discipline (Shanahan et al. 2016b), the life course paradigm has also diverse meanings. However, the most common use of the term refers to a set of perspectives relevant to the study of patterns of stability and change (George 2003). According to this view, explanations of continuity and change must involve the study of a sequence of responses and adaptations to changing life conditions (Pulkkinen and Caspi 2002), and the term “adaptation” in turn refers to people’s adjustments to biological, psychological, and social changes they experience over the course of their lives (e.g., Clausen 1986; Gierveld and Dykstra 1993). These adaptations are necessary due to the life changes and events that people experience, including developmental and social changes (Clausen 1986).

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Authors and Affiliations

  • George P. Moschis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MarketingGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA

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