The Self-Altering Process: Exploring the Dynamic Nature of Lifestyle Development and Change

The Self-Altering Process: Exploring the Dynamic Nature of Lifestyle Development and Change

The Self-Altering Process: Exploring the Dynamic Nature of Lifestyle Development and Change

The Self-Altering Process: Exploring the Dynamic Nature of Lifestyle Development and Change

Synopsis

Walters shows how interactive patterns proceed through three phases--initiation, transition, and maintenance--in becoming lifestyles. The first three phases of change are analogous to the three phases of lifestyle development, but a fourth or change phase is added to show that change is a never-ending process.

Excerpt

This is the second of two related works, the first being a book entitled Beyond Behavior. In that book a lifestyle was defined as a series of patterned interactions that reduce perceived threats to existence by temporarily alleviating the stress of change. A lifestyle neutralizes stress by creating an illusion of immutability or no change. However, because the illusion is incomplete the person experiences despair in response to internal and external environmental events that cannot be incorporated into or managed with a lifestyle. This encourages further entrenchment in the pattern. Over time the individual gradually begins distancing him- or herself from the internal and external environments, while growing increasingly more dependent on the lifestyle to manage the problems of everyday living.

Beyond Behavior was divided into three parts. The first part dealt with the necessity of redefining the subject matter of psychology as interactions taking place between the individual and his or her internal and external environments and surveyed the major conceptual precursors of lifestyle theory. Part II explored the fundamental elements of lifestyle structure--from conditions, choice, and cognition, to rules, roles, rituals, and relationships--and introduced a system of classification in which lifestyles are organized into leader, follower, rebel, and disabled families. The final part of this book examined the individual roles of incentive (fear), opportunity (learning), and choice (decision-making) in the genesis and selection of lifestyles.

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