The Development of the Person: The Minnesota Study of Risk and Adaptation from Birth to Adulthood

The Development of the Person: The Minnesota Study of Risk and Adaptation from Birth to Adulthood

The Development of the Person: The Minnesota Study of Risk and Adaptation from Birth to Adulthood

The Development of the Person: The Minnesota Study of Risk and Adaptation from Birth to Adulthood

Synopsis

The definitive work on a groundbreaking study, this essential volume provides a coherent picture of the complexity of development from birth to adulthood. Explicated are both the methodology of the Minnesota study and its far-reaching contributions to understanding how we become who we are. The book marshals a vast body of data on the ways in which individuals' strengths and vulnerabilities are shaped by myriad influences, including early experiences, family and peer relationships throughout childhood and adolescence, variations in child characteristics and abilities, and socioeconomic conditions. Implications for clinical intervention and prevention are also addressed. Rigorously documented and clearly presented, the study's findings elucidate the twists and turns of individual pathways, illustrating as never before the ongoing interplay between developing children and their environments.

Excerpt

For the last three decades we have been conducting a comprehensive study of children in their families, from birth to adulthood. It is a dream of developmental psychologists to know what children experience and to know their circumstances at each age, and to watch them unfold. This book is the story of what we learned about children as they progressed from one age to the next and what we came to understand about the development of individuals—how they became the persons they are.

We studied 180 children born into poverty in order to track the courses of their lives. Direct assessments of the children and the care they received were made at multiple times, and information was gathered from interviews and other procedures with parents, teachers, and, ultimately, the young people themselves, usually at the same ages. All aspects of development and the developmental context were examined, many times in the first 4 years, then yearly into elementary school, and every 2 or 3 years thereafter. Settings for the study included the home, the laboratory, the school, and the peer group. We examined parenting, peer relationships, temperament, and cognitive functioning, and we examined the interplay of all of these factors age by age in detail, beginning at the beginning. Moreover, the study included ongoing assessments of the entire range of contextual factors, from child and parent IQ and personality, to family-life stress, disruptions, and social support, to socioeconomic conditions. Finally, the study relied on multiple measures and multiple sources of information, including ample direct observation of . . .

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