© 2016

Handbook of the Life Course

Volume II

  • Michael J. Shanahan
  • Jeylan T. Mortimer
  • Monica Kirkpatrick Johnson


  • Takes stock of a fast-growing, complex and multidisciplinary field

  • Emphasizes qualitative novelty in life course research

  • Clearly describes the opportunities and challenges of the field


Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Michael J. Shanahan, Jeylan T. Mortimer, Monica Kirkpatrick Johnson
    Pages 1-23
  3. Foundations of Life Course Studies and Future Research

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 25-25
    2. Glen H. Elder Jr., Linda K. George
      Pages 59-85
    3. Dale Dannefer, Jessica Kelley-Moore, Wenxuan Huang
      Pages 87-110
    4. Gunhild O. Hagestad, Pearl A. Dykstra
      Pages 131-157
  4. Changing Social Contexts and Life Course Patterns

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 159-159
    2. Sandra Hofferth, Frances Goldscheider
      Pages 161-178
    3. Robert Crosnoe, Aprile D. Benner
      Pages 179-200
    4. Claudia Zapata-Gietl, James E. Rosenbaum, Caitlin Ahearn, Kelly Iwanaga Becker
      Pages 201-221
    5. Pia N. Blossfeld, Gwendolin J. Blossfeld, Hans-Peter Blossfeld
      Pages 223-247
    6. Phyllis Moen
      Pages 249-275
    7. Andrew S. London, Janet M. Wilmoth
      Pages 277-300
    8. Sara Wakefield, Robert Apel
      Pages 301-319
    9. Jack DeWaard
      Pages 321-338
  5. Health and Development Through the Life Course

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 339-339
    2. Ariel Kalil, Greg J. Duncan, Kathleen M. Ziol-Guest
      Pages 341-354
    3. Mark D. Hayward, Connor M. Sheehan
      Pages 355-368

About this book


Building on the success of the 2003 Handbook of the Life Course, this second volume identifies future directions for life course research and policy. The introductory essay and the chapters that make up the five sections of this book show consensus on strategic “next steps” in life course studies. These next steps are explored in detail in each section: Section I, on life course theory, provides fresh perspectives on well-established topics, including cohorts, life stages, and legal and regulatory contexts. It challenges life course scholars to move beyond common individualistic paradigms. Section II highlights changes in major institutional and organizational contexts of the life course. It draws on conceptual advances and recent empirical findings to identify promising avenues for research that illuminate the interplay between structure and agency. It examines trends in family, school, and workplace, as well as contexts that deserve heightened attention, including the military, the criminal justice system, and natural and man-made disaster. The remaining three sections consider advances and suggest strategic opportunities in the study of health and development throughout the life course; methodological innovations, including qualitative and three-generational longitudinal research designs, causal analysis, growth curves, and the study of place; and building bridges between life course research and public policy.


Causal Analysis in Life Course Research Culture and the Life Course Future Research on Life Course Growth and Diffusion of Life Course Research Institutionalization of the Life Course Life Course Research and Policy Life Course Research for Educational Careers Life Course Research for Familial Careers Life Course Research for Work Careers Life Course Sociology Life Course Theory Social Circumstances in the Study of Biographical Patterns Social Structures and the Life Course Study on Complexities of Timing The Life Course and Behavioral Medicine The Life Course and Epidemiology The Life Course and Psychology The Life Course and Spatial Analysis Transitions in the Life Course

Editors and affiliations

  • Michael J. Shanahan
    • 1
  • Jeylan T. Mortimer
    • 2
  • Monica Kirkpatrick Johnson
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Life Course Center and Department of SociologyUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  3. 3.Department of SociologyWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA

About the editors

Michael J. Shanahan is Professor of Sociology and Faculty Fellow at the Carolina Population Center and at the Center for Developmental Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is interested in individual differences in the life course, a theme that he has studied with reference to genetics, health, and personality. Recent articles appear in Social ForcesDevelopmental PsychologyJournal of Health and Social Behavior, and Social Science and Medicine. His current research examines associations between social circumstances and gene transcription both early and later in the life course.

Jeylan T. Mortimer is Professor of Sociology and Founding Director of the Life Course Center, University of Minnesota, and Principal Investigator of the longitudinal, three generation Youth Development Study. Her interests span the areas of work and socioeconomic attainment, the life course, youth and transition to adulthood.  H

er recent articles appear in Social Psychology QuarterlySocial Forces, the Journal of Research on Adolescence, the Journal of Marriage and FamilyDevelopmental Psychology, the Journal of Vocational BehaviorLongitudinal and Life Course Studies, and Demography.  Her current research examines intergenerational change and transmission of achievement orientations, the impacts of prior parental experiences and trajectories on their adolescent children, and the sources of resilience in the transition to adulthood.  Professor Mortimer is Chair of the Section on Aging and the Life Course in the American Sociological Association.  She previously served as Chair of the ASA Sections on Children and Youth, and Social Psychology.

Monica Kirkpatrick Johnson is Professor of Sociology and Honors College Distinguished Professor at Washington State University.  Her r

esearch interests are in the areas of work, family, and education across the life course, with particular focus on well-being and achievement in adolescence and the transition to adulthood. Her recent research has appeared in the American Journal of SociologyLongitudinal and Life Course StudiesSocial Science ResearchJournal of Marriage and FamilySocial Forces and Social Psychology Quarterly.  Her current research focuses on families’ and young people’s adaptations to the changing nature of the transition to adulthood, including familial financial support in young adulthood and its implications for attainment and well-being; change in educational and work ambitions tied to changing personal and historical circumstances; and the interplay of stratification and the development of social psychological resources in promoting well-being and attainment.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Handbook of the Life Course
  • Book Subtitle Volume II
  • Editors Michael J. Shanahan
    Jeylan T. Mortimer
    Monica Kirkpatrick Johnson
  • Series Title Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research
  • Series Abbreviated Title Hdb of Sociology,Social Research
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-20879-4
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-319-35833-8
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-20880-0
  • Series ISSN 1389-6903
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages X, 720
  • Number of Illustrations 54 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Sociology, general
    Developmental Psychology
    Population Economics
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“Handbook of the Life Course: Volume II could usefully sit on any life course researcher’s desk—not on a shelf, because it is too useful. Each chapter offers rich and new insights into the adventure of life courses and life course research. … graduate students and researchers at all levels could beneficially dip into the book again and again for inspiration and guidance.” (Susan McDaniel, Canadian Studies in Population, Vol. 44 (1-2), 2017)