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Psychologists have long understood that testing individuals within laboratory settings can only approximate genuine human behaviors. Yet how can the influence of the real world, with all its complexity and variability, be measured? This edited volume begins to answer that question by providing theoretical models and testing methods for quantifying the effects of the environment on human development.

The volume begins with a provocative theoretical essay by Urie Bronfenbrenner. Chapter authors then explore ways for measuring and conceptualizing the environment across major stages in the life span, focusing on home life, the adolescent peer environment, child care settings, the after school environment, the work place, and elder communities. The unpredictable influence of real-world events is thoroughly considered at each stage. This book brings together the work of environmental researchers specializing in specific domains or populations, which will provide a critical intellectual link for these often-isolated areas of research.

Table of Contents

List of Contributors


I. Theoretical Overview of the Structure of the Environment

  1. Environments in Developmental Perspective: Theoretical and Operational Models
    —Urie Bronfenbrenner

II. Age-Characteristic Proximal Environments

  1. The Home Environment
    —Robert H. Bradley
  2. Measuring the Peer Environment of American Adolescents
    —B. Bradford Brown
  3. Environmental Taxonomy: Generalizations From Research With Older Adults
    —M. Powell Lawton

III. Organizational Settings

  1. The Child-Care Environment: Conceptualizations, Assessments, and Issues
    —Sarah L. Friedman and Jo-Ann Amadeo
  2. Conceptualization and Measurement of Children's After-School Environment
    —Deborah Lowe Vandell and Jill K. Posner
  3. Assessing the School Environment: Embedded Contexts and Bottom-Up Research Strategies
    —Joan E. Talbert and Milbrey W. McLaughlin
  4. The Workplace Environment: Measurement, Psychological Effects, and Basic Issues
    —Carmi Schooler

IV. The Larger Environment

  1. Measurement of the Physical Environment as a Stressor
    —Gary W. Evans
  2. The Environment as Culture in Developmental Research
    —Charles M. Super and Sarah Harkness

V. Integration Across Settings

  1. Human Development in the Age of the Internet: Conceptual and Methodological Horizons
    —Daniel Stokols
  2. Celebrating Complexity: Conceptualization and Assessment of the Environment
    —Theodore D. Wachs

Author Index

Subject Index

About the Editors