A Systemic Approach to the Transitions to Adulthood

Marion Kloep and Leo B. Hendry

in Debating Emerging Adulthood

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199757176
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199863389 | DOI:
A Systemic Approach to the Transitions to Adulthood

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In this chapter a radically different perspective to “stage theory” is taken. Hence, the difficulties inherent in defining the notions of “adolescence”, “adulthood” and, as a consequence, “transitions” are discussed; and it is argued that trying to describe human development by these vague, ill-defined concepts, or by the simple passing of time through “stages”, does not add to our understanding of what actually causes human change across the lifespan. An alternative theoretical viewpoint that seeks to analyse the processes and mechanisms underlying human transformations is offered. From a systemic perspective human development is seen as the interplay between the individual and micro-and macro-level elements. The underlying mechanisms involved in meeting normative and quasi-normative shifts do not vary between cultures and historic cohorts, though, cultural differences and their associated challenges do vary enormously.

Keywords: dynamic systems theory; resources-challenge model; processes; mechanisms; transitions; human development; human change

Chapter.  9866 words. 

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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