Toward a cultural-developmental stage theory of the life course

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Book Chapter


Our view presented in this chapter is that developmental metatheories have erred in rejecting stage theories wholesale. Although stage theories have their limitations, they provide a vivid sense of the normative patterns and issues that exist at different points of the life course. Developmental metatheories have usefully described principles of development that may apply across stages or periods of development. However, they often fail to provide a sense of the developmental distinctions between different ages. Furthermore, both stage theories and developmental metatheories fail to incorporate cultural influences on development sufficiently. Our goal in this chapter will be to evaluate stage theories and developmental metatheories and end by proposing the outlines of a cultural-developmental stage theory that is intended to combine the best of both perspectives (Jensen, 2006, in press). First, previous stage theories will be summarized briefly. Then, developmental metatheories will be examined. Finally, the outline of our new cultural-developmental stage theory will be presented. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved)

Publication Title

Experience and Development: A Festschrift in Honor of Sandra Wood Scarr

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cultural development stage theory, life course