Contemporary Psychology, Vol. 17, No. 2, 2014, 199-228


New in Psychological Developmental Theories: The Modification of Earlier and Formulation and Testing of New Theories and Concepts

Katica Lacković-Grgin -

Fulltext (croatian, pages 199-228).pdf

The post-modern revolution and the attitudes on human nature bring along a new conceptualization of life-span development, focusing not only on cognitive, but on organismic processes and emotions, and the importance of context and culture. Changes may be seen in the bridging of psychology and sociology (Settersten, Jr. 1999), and in the strengthening of an integrative approach in investigations. This approach results in the reconstruction of an earlier concept of development (e.g. propositions of development, peak and the end point of development, developmental importance of childhood, stability in middle age, complete developmental plasticity, retreatment in old age, etc.). Today, the idea of active and proactive construction of one’s life is completely accepted. It formed new models of investigations of qualitative changes and new strategies for the analysis of research data that give insight into synchronic and diachronic perspectives of development. Parallel to this, new, two-sided theories appear. One consists of the modification of some earlier big developmental theories without changing their basic concepts. The other includes the formulation of new theories/models that integrate awareness from several areas (psychology of personality, motivation and emotion, social and clinical psychology), as well as biology, sociology and anthropology. Theories highlighting the active construction of one’s life stimulated numerous studies on self-regulation of people of different age, sex, educational level, health status, personality traits, culture, etc. Three prominent theories (1. dual-process model of assimilative and accommodative coping; 2. model of selection, optimization and compensation; 3. the motivational theory of life-span development) are being discussed. The article presents an attempt to synthesize these theories and their impact on the investigation of relatively new constructs in psychology.

life-span development, integrative approach, theories and models of development, gerotranscendence, self-regulation, wisdom, longing

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