Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Development in Couples and Families

  • Katharine Ann BuckEmail author
  • Marte Ostvik-de Wilde
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_519


Theories of human development offer explanations for how couples and families grow, remain stable, and change across time. Growth and change may be gradual, quantitative, and continuous or abrupt, qualitative, and discontinuous. Stage theories such as Piaget’s cognitive developmental theory and Erikson’s psychosocial theory emphasize the discontinuous nature of development. For example, couples in young adulthood who struggle to resolve the developmental crisis of intimacy versus isolation are in a qualitatively different period of development than adolescents who are challenged with resolving the crisis of identity versus identity confusion. Behavioral theories of learning (e.g., Bandura’s social learning theory, Skinner’s operant conditioning theory), on the other hand, characterize development as a gradual, continuous process that is driven by experiences within our social environment. In his social learning theory, for example, Bandura asserts that individuals learn...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesUniversity of Saint JosephWest HartfordUSA
  2. 2.Counseling and Applied Behavioral StudiesUniversity of Saint JosephWest HartfordUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Rachel Diamond
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Saint JosephWest HarfordUSA