Societal Contexts of Child Development Pathways of Influence and Implications for Practice and Policy

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-10-04
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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In the last half century, developmental scientists have become increasingly interested in studying contexts beyond the home environment that contribute to children's growth and development, including physical contexts such as schools and neighborhoods, as well as social contexts such as poverty. During this same period, a number of social trends have significantly impacted children's daily lives, including shifts in gender roles and expectations, the emergence of an early care and education system, and the proliferation of media technology.

Societal Contexts of Child Development provides comprehensive literature reviews for six broad contextual influences on children's development that have emerged as key areas of inquiry in contemporary society - gender, child care, culture and ethnicity, poverty, schools and neighborhoods, and media. In the spirit of applied developmental science, this book considers these six contextual domains in a series of two linked chapters written by experts in the interdisciplinary field of developmental science. The first chapter in each section is organized as a review of basic research relevant to a particular context, including a discussion of prominent theoretical and methodological issues. The second chapter in each section then addresses the same context from an applied research perspective, examining and documenting how research has been, can be, or should be used to enhance the everyday lives and developmental outcomes of children and their families through interventions and/or social policies. The book concludes with a chapter specifically dedicated to making connections between research and practice and an epilogue that situates the book's chapters within the field's study of contexts. Societal Contexts of Child Development will appeal to a broad audience of scholars, students, practitioners, and policymakers from the disciplines of psychology, sociology, economics, human development, and public policy.

Author Biography

Elizabeth T. Gershoff, PhD, is Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Texas, Austin. Dr. Gershoff studies the impacts of parenting, poverty, community violence, neighborhoods, and school contexts on child and youth development over time.

Rashmita S. Mistry, PhD, is Associate Professor of Education at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Mistry's research examines the consequences of poverty and economic stress on family and child well-being, children's reasoning about social class and inequality, and the design and evaluation of elementary and middle school curricula focused on social and economic inequality.

Danielle A. Crosby, PhD, is Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Dr. Crosby studies the environments, programs, and policies that impact young children's development in the context of social and economic disadvantage.

Table of Contents

About the Editors

Introduction: Contextualizing Child Development
Elizabeth T. Gershoff, Rashmita S. Mistry, and Danielle A. Crosby

Section I: Gender Roles as a Restrictive Context

1. Gender Development: From Universality to Individuality
Lynn S. Liben, Rebecca S. Bigler, and Lacey J. Hilliard

2. Gender and Achievement Choices
Jacquelynne S. Eccles

Section II: Child Care: An Early Contextual Opportunity

3. Women's Work and Child Care: Perspectives and Prospects
Marion O'Brien, Jennifer M. Weaver, Margaret Burchinal, Alison Clarke-Stewart, and Deborah Lowe Vandell

4. Issues of Quality and Access Emerging from the Changing Early Childhood Policy Context: Towards the Next Generation of Research
Martha Zaslow, Danielle A. Crosby, and Nina Smith

Section III: Cultural Contexts and Immigrant Families

5. An Ecological Approach to Understanding Immigrant Child and Adolescent Developmental Competencies
Amy K. Marks, Camila Godoy, and Cynthia GarcĂ­a Coll

6. Beyond Families and Schools: Future Directions in Practice and Policy for Children in Immigrant Families
Ana Maria Nieto and Hirokazu Yoshikawa

Section IV: Child Poverty as a Limiting Context of Development

7. Poverty and Children's Development: Familial Processes as Mediating Influences
Vonnie McLoyd, Rashmita S. Mistry, and Cecily R. Hardaway

8. The World Isn't Linear or Additive or Decontextualized: Pluralism and Mixed Methods in Understanding the Effects of Anti-Poverty Programs on Children and Parenting
Thomas S. Weisner and Greg J. Duncan

Section V: Schools and Neighborhoods: The Microcosms of Childhood

9. Neighborhood and School Contexts in the Lives of Children
Elizabeth T. Gershoff and Aprile D. Benner

10. School- and Neighborhood-Based Interventions to Improve the Lives of Disadvantaged Children
Robert Crosnoe and Tama Leventhal

Section VI: Development in the Context of Omnipresent Media

11. Children and Electronic Media
Sandra L. Calvert and Ellen A. Wartella

12. Language, Literacy and Media: What's the Word on Sesame Street?
Rosemarie T. Truglio and Jennifer A. Kotler

Section VII: Programs and Policies as Contextual Opportunities for Improving Children's Lives

13. Connecting Research and Practice
Robert C. Granger, Vivian Tseng, and Brian L. Wilcox

Epilogue: The Ecology of Human Development in the Twenty-First Century
Aletha C. Huston


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