Psychoanalytic theory is in many respects a theory of human development. Although psychodynamic models of personality and psychopathology have long influenced many areas of developmental psychology, the reverse is increasingly evident today. Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Developmental Psychology explores the growing areas of mutual influence between psychoanalytic theory and the study of human development—the impact of object relations theory on the study of infant–caretaker attachment being only one significant example.

This volume explores the shift in the psychodynamic conceptualization of the infant–caretaker relationship toward the active role of the child, and the reciprocal influence between parent and child—and, by extension, between therapist and patient. Developmental psychologists now use the language of object relations theory to describe how psychoanalytic thinking has shaped studies of identity development and the construction of self-concept.

The empirical research examined in the volume highlights the expansion of psychoanalytic theory from infant and child development to a life span view, recognizing important developmental milestones throughout adolescence and adulthood and into the realm of aging. The book's contributors extend psychoanalytic theory into a variety of areas: mother-infant interaction, the evolving concept of "illusory mental health," the function of cognition and affect in creativity, and the increasingly clear role of hostility in suicide among younger and older adults.

This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of psychoanalytic theory and its supporting research, as well as on the rich interface between psychoanalytic and developmental traditions of study.

Table of Contents

List of Contributors

Introduction: On the Empirical Testing of Psychoanalytic Concepts: Psychoanalysis as Developmental Psychology
—Joseph M. Masling and Robert F. Bornstein

  1. Precursors of Relatedness and Self-Definition in Mother–Infant Interaction
    —Ruth Feldman and Sidney J. Blatt
  2. Bridging the Gap Between Psychodynamic and Scientific Psychology: The Adelphi Early Memory Index
    —Rachel Karliner, Ellen Katz Westrich, Jonathan Shedler, and Martin Mayman
  3. Psychoanalytic Theory and Creativity: Cognition and Affect Revisited
    —Sandra W. Russ
  4. Attachment Research and Psychoanalytic Theory
    —Morris N. Eagle
  5. Psychoanalysis and the Study of Adult Lives
    —Bertram J. Cohler and David S. deBoer
  6. Clinical Applications of Attachment Theory: Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives
    —Lisa Sandow Lyons and Michael B. Sperling
  7. Reconsidering the Role of Hostility in Completed Suicide: A Life-Course Perspective
    —Paul R. Duberstein, Larry Seidlitz, and Yeates Conwell

Author Index

Subject Index

About the Editors

Reviews & Awards

Selected to be of current interest, and written specifically for this project, the chapters all maintain the high standard of scholarship due such a project. The tone throughout is questioning and dispassionate. Most chapters are the equivalent of evaluative review articles. All of the articles are Janusian in simultaneously regarding the span of relevant psychoanalytic and non-psychoanalytic literature. Organization is consistent and pronounced, facilitating use of the information and giving unity to the book. The topics of the seven chapters are unified only by the book's general purpose. They are good examples of the many directions in which psychoanalytic thinking can be tested and applied…Demanding rigor of thought and demonstrating the range of ideas in current psychoanalysis, this book could benefit advanced graduate students. For those of us already in the field, it invited the reader to debate various positions on each topic. It accomplishes the goal of showing the enrichment of general personality theory that comes from sound research of psychoanalytic principles. As a bonus, it offers critical overviews of several important topic, making it an excellent sourcebook as well.
—Contemporary Psychology®, 1998, Vol. 43, No. 11