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Theories of Adolescent Development - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780128154502, 9780128172544

Theories of Adolescent Development

1st Edition

Authors: Barbara Newman Philip Newman
eBook ISBN: 9780128172544
Paperback ISBN: 9780128154502
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 5th May 2020
Page Count: 444
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Adolescence is both universal and culturally constructed, resulting in diverse views about its defining characteristics. Theories of Adolescent Development brings together many theories surrounding this life stage in one comprehensive reference. It begins with an introduction to the nature of theory in the field of adolescence including an analysis of why there are so many theories in this field. The theory chapters are grouped into three sections: biological systems, psychological systems, and societal systems. Each chapter considers a family of theories including scope, assumptions, key concepts, contributions to the study of adolescence, approaches to measurement, applications, and a discussion of strengths and limitations of this family. A concluding chapter offers an integrative analysis, identifying five assumptions drawn from the theories that are essential guides for future research and application. Three questions provide a focus for comparison and contrast: How do the theories characterize the time and timing of adolescence? What do the theories emphasize as domains that are unfolding in movement toward maturity? Building on the perspective of Positive Youth Development, how do the theories differ in their views of developmental resources and conditions that may undermine development in adolescence?

Key Features

  • Includes biological, psychological and sociological theories
  • Identifies historical roots, assumptions, key concepts, applications, measurement, strengths, and limitations of each theory
  • Compares and contrasts theories
  • Concludes with an integrated perspective across theories


Students and researchers in developmental science, including developmental psychology and human development, social work, counselling, and adolescent health

Table of Contents

About the Authors


1. Introduction

Part I - The Biological System

2. Evolutionary Theory

3. Biosocial Theories: Behavioral Genetics and Sociobiology

4. Dynamic Systems Theories

Part II - The Psychological System

5. Psychoanalytic Theories

6. Psychosocial Theories

7. Cognitive Developmental Theories

8. Self-Regulation Theories

Part III - The Societal System

9. Interpersonal Theories

10. Family Theories

11. Ecological Theories

12. Social Role and Life Course Theories

13. Cultural Theories

14. Summary



No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2020
5th May 2020
Academic Press
eBook ISBN:
Paperback ISBN:

About the Authors

Barbara Newman

Barbara M. Newman (Ph.D., University of Michigan) is a professor emeritus in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Rhode Island. She has also been on the faculty at Russell Sage College and the Ohio State University, where she served as department chair in Human Development and Family Science and as associate provost for Faculty Recruitment and Development. She has taught courses in life-span development, adolescence, family theories, and the research process. An active researcher, Dr. Newman’s interests focus on parent-child relationships in early adolescence, factors that promote success in the transition to high school and the transition to college, and the sense of belonging in early and later adolescence. Her most recent research focuses on the development of the sense of purpose among college students with disabilities.

Affiliations and Expertise

Professor Emeritus, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, University of Rhode Island, USA

Philip Newman

Philip R. Newman (Ph.D., University of Michigan) is a social psychologist whose research has focused on the transition to high school as well as on group identity and alienation. He has taught courses in introductory psychology, adolescence, social psychology, developmental psychology, counseling, and family, school, and community contexts for development. He served as the director for Research and Evaluation of the Young Scholars Program at the Ohio State University and as the director of the Human Behavior Curriculum Project for the American Psychological Association. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI), and the American Orthopsychiatric Association (now called the Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice).

Affiliations and Expertise

Social Psychologist and Author


"The book will be a valuable resource for neuropsychologists, clinicians in other specialties, and students who want a comprehensive overview of the theories of adolescent development from a contemporary lens that includes discussions on theory applications and measurement.  Newman and Newman have compiled a laudable work that achieves their intention to “inspire a more nuanced conceptualization of adolescent development.”  It is sure to be an oft referenced work for those seeking to understand complex adolescent behaviors through a multi-tiered lens." --Applied Neuropsychology-Adult

"The title Theories of Adolescent Development offers a big promise—somehow distilling the myriad guiding perspectives on how young people grow, mature, and learn into a single manageable volume. Barbara and Philip Newman deliver on that promise. Drawing on their own expertise in research and teaching, they cast an incredibly wide net to cover developmental theories that look within adolescents’ bodies and minds and that situate them in contexts large and small, and they delve deep into each one. All in one place, readers can find a history lesson on how scientific thinking about adolescents has evolved over history, a comprehensive overview of where the field stands now, and a guide to putting theory into action." -- Robert Crosnoe, Associate Dean of Liberal Arts, University of Texas at Austin, and Past President of the Society for Research on Adolescence

"The new Theories of Adolescent Development book by Newman and Newman is quite simply a delightful, productive, and provocative read — and I am not one to call most theory books delightful but this one is both clear and comprehensive. Each chapter is an easy read and the structure of each are parallel making comparisons cumulative and useful. I found the book productive in the ways it provided insights useful for new learners as well as seasoned researchers and active practitioners. Definitely would have used this to better inform my teaching of adolescent development but also in offering a richer understanding of adolescent development at upper undergraduate and graduate levels. Chapters from this book provide a richness, clarity and depth too often lacking when talking about theories of adolescent development and their interrelationships and application.  I can imagine many graduate students working on theses I would refer to different chapters as well as people who train practitioners and want a sense of what we know and how we know it. The book would also be useful to the new breeds of youth workers who are digging it to better understand the roots of the field.  The inclusion in each chapter of implications for practice and measurement as well as the strengths and limits of each approach is wonderfully done and extremely useful.  As a scholar who has moved from trying to understand adolescent development to one that has come to focus on youth development and now seeks to use knowledge to improve development, I found the book both provocative  and reflective of much of what we now know about both positive youth development and risk taking as what we need to challenge. In short, this is not only a must have book but a must read one for anyone trying to understand, teach, study, or support the development of young people in today’s world. Fortunately for us all, it is also a wonderful read with great insights that are readily accessed." -- Dale A. Blyth, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus and Howland Endowed Chair in Youth Development, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota

"It is evident that Theories of Adolescent Development is a culmination of the authors’ comprehensive analyses, thoughtful organization, and attentive narration. Pertinent theories of adolescent development are grouped into three families of theories that provide an extensive and nuanced conceptualization of adolescent development. Clear explanations of how these biological, psychological, and societal systems of theories come into play in adolescence are also provided with a wide range of relevant applications, for example, bullying, autonomy, purpose, parent-adolescent interactions, social media use, and cultural identity. Students, researchers, and practitioners will find this book to be an excellent guide and valuable resource" -- Indrawati Liauw, Research Analyst, Office of Institutional Research, Chabot College

"The application of theory and research is foundational to social work education, as generalist and advanced generalist practitioners require transdisciplinary and bio-psycho-social knowledge of adolescent development. Advanced undergraduate and graduate students can use Theories of Adolescent Development as a text to read and engage in a thorough discussion about the importance of foundational theories, the evolution of such theories, and their application. Newman and Newman present relevant research that sheds light on the efficacy of salient concepts to inform policy and practice, impacting adolescent development at micro-, mezzo-, and macro- system levels. I highly recommend this publication for advanced foundational courses in social work, the human services, education, nursing, and related helping professions." -- Renda A. Ross, PhD., LISWS, Department Chair/BSW Program Director, Capital University

Ratings and Reviews