Fifty Years of the Research and Theory of R.S. Lazarus: An Analysis of Historical and Perennial Issues

Fifty Years of the Research and Theory of R.S. Lazarus: An Analysis of Historical and Perennial Issues

Fifty Years of the Research and Theory of R.S. Lazarus: An Analysis of Historical and Perennial Issues

Fifty Years of the Research and Theory of R.S. Lazarus: An Analysis of Historical and Perennial Issues

Synopsis

A collection of the articles written by the author throughout his extensive career, this book achieves three goals. First, it reprints selected research and theory papers on stress and coping from the 1950s to the present produced by Lazarus under five rubrics: his dissertation; perennial epistemological issues including the revolt of the 1940s and 1950s; his transition from laboratory to field research; the clinical applications of stress and coping; and expanding stress to the emotions. Second, it provides a running commentary on the origination of the issues discussed, what was occurring in psychology when the work was done, and where the work led in the present. Third, it integrates various themes about which psychologists debate vociferously, often without recognizing the intellectual bases of these differences.

Excerpt

At my stage of life, about 75 years old when the completed book makes its debut, after roughly 50 years of research and theory building, it is wonderful -- an unusual privilege -- to have an opportunity to publish this selective anthology of my work. I have used that work as a basis for a historical commentary on the work's origins, its ideas, the provocative things that happened when it appeared, and its fate as psychology advanced toward it's present state. One theme of those comments is that, despite changing fads and fashions, truly important issues never die, but emerge again and again later in different form, with a new perspective, and with new methods of tackling them.

Inasmuch as the rationale for this book is described in the Prologue, in this preface I need only express appreciation to various people for their encouragement and help as I pursued this venture, which I think is rather unusual. I am grateful to Lawrence Erlbaum Associates -- especially Larry Erlbaum, and Vice President and Editor, Robert Kidd, who monitored the publishing -- for taking the publishing risks and producing a high quality product.

I thank my good friend, Paul Ekman, for suggesting the idea to me in the first place, though it has been transformed considerably from our original conversations in December 1995. He and Joe Campos, another friend and colleague, read parts of it at an early stage and gave me their informed and honest opinions.

A longtime friend and valuable research colleague at Berkeley many years ago, Jim Averill, was particularly generous in providing two reviews; first of the plan of the book for interested publishers and second, of the near-final text, which facilitated some useful changes that greatly improved the final revision. As always, I must take ultimate responsibility for limitations and defects in the book.

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