A Lifespan Perspective
Chapter 2: Lifespan Integration of Employment and Family: Past Theory and Research Findings
An effort to discover how and why women change as they mature resides at the heart of this study. The most common scholarly explanations in developmental psychology focus on maturation processes linked to physical development. Changes usually are described in terms of different stages of development sometimes derived from the lives of men and sometimes identified as specific to the lives of women. A second type of scholarly explanation found more in the cognitive and social psychology or sociology literature explains individual change primarily through individual intentional decisionmaking as well as by socialization processes, role norms, opportunities, and barriers created by parents, peers, schools, and jobs. For a full picture of all of the influences on women’s development, we need to consider both schools of thought, however, there is greater detail in the explanations of the psychological theories that guided the study. This is not a comprehensive review of all proposed theories and empirical data, but rather a selection based on relevance to the central theme of the volume about the choices women make about how to balance employment and family in their lives. LIFE STAGE THEORIES Adult development theories focus on issues and tasks faced by individuals through the lifespan. A common theme is the belief that their lifespan development progresses in a systematic and orderly way. That is, an underlying order in the progression of lives exists, not only in childhood and adolescence but in adulthood as well. The work of Daniel Levinson is particularly relevant because work...
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