Life-Span Developmental Psychology: Perspectives on Stress and Coping

Life-Span Developmental Psychology: Perspectives on Stress and Coping

Life-Span Developmental Psychology: Perspectives on Stress and Coping

Life-Span Developmental Psychology: Perspectives on Stress and Coping

Synopsis

Although there has been a significant increase in studies of stress and coping processes in recent years, researchers have often approached these topics from rather narrow and constrained perspectives. Furthermore, little communication has occurred across disciplines and research directions, resulting in the emergence of several relatively isolated literatures.

An outgrowth of the Eleventh Biennial West Virginia University Conference on Life-Span Development, this volume emphasizes two major themes: the importance of taking a life-span approach to the study of stress and coping, and the development of new and more complete conceptual models of stress and coping processes. The first to approach these subjects from a life-span perspective, this book includes papers by distinguished researchers from each of the major periods of the life-span, and brings together the cognitive and socioemotional traditions in the study of dealing with pressures. The editors hope that this facilitation of communication among researchers with diverse views will help create a broadening and integration of perspectives.

Excerpt

This volume contains the papers presented at the 11th Biennial West Virginia University Conference on Life-Span Development. The conference was held in Morgantown on March 24-27, 1988. The topic selected for the conference was "Stress and Coping Across the Life Span."

The choice of this topic was motivated by the significant increase in studies of stress and coping processes in recent years. Many clinically and developmentally relevant questions about individuals' responses to threatening or challenging events currently are being addressed. This research also promises to lead toward the development of increasingly sophisticated and integrative models of stress and coping. However, researchers often have approached stress and coping from rather narrow and constrained perspectives. Further, little communication across disciplines and research directions has taken place, leading to the emergence of several relatively isolated literatures. The goal of this conference, therefore, was to foster exchanges between researchers studying stress and coping in different age groups and from different theoretical perspectives. We hoped to facilitate communication and a broadening of perspectives by emphasizing two major themes through our selection of participants and paper topics for the conference.

The first theme of the conference was the importance and usefulness of taking a life-span approach to the study of stress and coping. We, therefore, brought together researchers working in each of the major periods of the life span: infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and older adulthood. Investigators concentrating on each of these age periods typically have paid little attention to comparable research in other age periods. For example, researchers who have focused on childhood stressors have seldom considered the implications of early stressful experiences for later development. Similarly, researchers who have . . .

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