Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

Living Edition
| Editors: Marc Gellman

Child Development

  • Debbie PalmerEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6439-6_1319-2



The field of child development is concerned with the scientific study of human growth and functioning across the early stages of development (i.e., the prenatal period through adolescence) and within the multitude of contexts of daily life. Areas of interest include – though are not limited to – biological, cognitive, physical, social, and emotional change across the early portions of life. In all cases, an emphasis is placed on understanding how normative functioning changes or remains constant across time as a result of maturation and/or experience (Lerner 2006). Child development is one aspect of the broader field of Developmental Psychology, which examines human growth and functioning across the entire lifespan.


The field of child development is concerned with the scientific study of human growth and functioning throughout the early portions of life, including the...

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References and Further Reading

  1. Arnett, J. (2004). Emerging adulthood: The winding road from the late teens through the twenties. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Berk, L. E. (2003). Child development (6th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  3. Buchbinder, M. (2009). The management of autonomy in type 1 diabetes: A case study of triadic medical interaction. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine, 13(2), 175–196.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1363459308099683.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cauffman, E., Shulman, E., Steinberg, L., Claus, E., Banich, M., Graham, S., & Woolard, J. (2010). Age differences in affective decision-making as indexed by performance on the Iowa Gambling Task. Developmental Psychology, 46, 193–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Côté, J. E. (2014). The dangerous myth of emerging adulthood: An evidence-based critique of a flawed developmental theory. Applied Developmental Science, 18(4), 177–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Denault, A. S., & Guay, F. (2017). Motivation toward extracurricular activities and motivation at school: A test of the generalization effect hypothesis. Journal of Adolescence, 54, 94–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Friedman, D., Holmbeck, G., DeLucia, C., Jandasek, B., & Zebracki, K. (2009). Trajectories of autonomy development across the adolescent transition in children with spina bifida. Rehabilitation Psychology, 54(1), 16–27.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0014279.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Halvorson, M., Yasuda, P., Carpenter, S., & Kaiserman, K. (2005). Unique challenges for pediatric patients with diabetes. Diabetes Spectrum, 18(3), 167–173.  https://doi.org/10.2337/diaspect.18.3.167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Huang, J. S., Gottschalk, M., Pian, M., Dillon, L., Barajas, D., & Bartholomew, L. K. (2011). Transition to adult care: Systematic assessment of adolescents with chronic illnesses and their medical teams. Journal of Pediatrics, 159(6), 994–998.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2011.05.038.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Lerner, R. M. (2006). Developmental science, developmental systems, and contemporary theories of human development. In R. M. Learner & W. Damon (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology (Theoretical models of human development 6th ed., Vol. 1, pp. 1–17). Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  11. Piaget, J. (1954). The construction of reality in the child. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Santrock, J. W. (2018). A topical approach to life-span development (9th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  13. Steinberg, L. (2017). Adolescence (11th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  14. Williams, P. G., Holmbeck, G. N., & Greenley, R. N. (2002). Adolescent health psychology. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 70(3), 828–842.  https://doi.org/10.1037//0022-006X.70.3.828.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Wisconsin-Stevens PointStevens PointUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Deborah J. Wiebe
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychological SciencesUniversity of California, MercedMercedUSA