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Adult Development

The Holistic, Developmental, and Systems-Oriented Perspective
  • Seymour Wapner
  • Jack Demick
Part of the The Springer Series in Adult Development and Aging book series (SSAD)

Abstract

The study of adult development has had an extensive and variegated coverage. For example, consider the work of Baltes (1979), Birren and Schaie (1990), Erikson (1950), Havighurst (1953), Jung (1933), Neugarten (1968), and Schaie (1983). The breadth and extensity of the work in this area is readily seen in Lemme’s (1999) comprehensive survey of research and theory on adult development. The enormity of these contributions points to the need for their organization by a comprehensive theoretical perspective. Toward this end, the present chapter describes the holistic, developmental, systems-oriented perspective (Wapner, 1981, 1987; Wapner & Demick, 1990, 1992, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, in press) that is an extension of some facets of Werner’s (1940/1957, 1957) classic work on comparative psychology of mental development.1 For the most part, the research on adult development has involved theoretical approaches restricted to ontogenesis and aging. The approach presented here includes ontogenesis and aging, but also has a broader conceptualization of development that encompasses phylogenesis, microgenesis, psycho- and neuro-pathology, and genesis and development of operations varying in degree of optimal functioning (e.g., stress, drugs). Thus, it includes progressive as well as regressive development. These diverse areas are analyzed by use of the orthogenetic principle that formally describes development as change from dedifferentiated to differentiated and hierarchically integrated person-in-environment system states.

Keywords

Nursing Home Cognitive Style Parental Divorce Adult Development Developmental Analysis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Seymour Wapner
    • 1
  • Jack Demick
    • 2
  1. 1.Heinz Werner Institute for Developmental AnalysisClark UniversityWorcesterUSA
  2. 2.Center for Adoption ResearchUniversity of Massachusetts Medical SchoolWorcesterUSA

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