Child Development: A Cultural Approach, 3rd edition

Published by Pearson (December 13, 2019) © 2020

  • Jeffrey Jensen Arnett Clark University
  • Lene Arnett Jensen Clark University


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For courses in Child Development.

Help students understand how culture impacts development, and why it matters

Child Development: A Cultural Approach helps students learn how to think culturally about human development throughout our diverse, increasingly globalized world. Author Jeffrey Jensen Arnett and new co-author Lene Arnett Jensen weave an engaging chronological narrative that traces development from birth through emerging adulthood, integrating current research and cross-cultural examples from around the globe throughout.

The 3rd Edition offers an expanded chapter organization and additional cross-cultural perspectives to better highlight the cultural aspects of development.

Hallmark features of this title

  • Cultural Focus features highlight how culture impacts various aspects of development, such as infant fine motor development and adolescent conflict with parents. Accompanying review questions prompt students to examine their own opinions regarding the topic.
  • Research Focus features describe a particular research study, including its premises, methods, results and limitations.
  • Education Focus features highlight the application of developmental research to educational settings, both in and outside of school. In the 3rd Edition, these are included in every chapter.
  • Learning objectives help students to keep organized and to better understand the material.
  • End-of-section summaries organized around the learning objectives provide opportunities for review.

New and updated features of this title

  • NEW: Co-author Lene Arnett Jensen brings a fresh perspective to the text. She calls upon her own childhood experiences and areas of expertise, including moral development among diverse groups, to strengthen the text's cultural approach to psychological development.
  • UPDATED: The authors' fresh approach has been informed by growing up and working in a number of different countries. They emphasize how the universal features of development are shaped by cultural diversity in 3 fundamental ways:
    • An emphasis on teaching students to think culturally about development
    • A broadened scope of child development and an updated perspective on when children may be considered “grown up”
    • The inclusion of diverse contexts of child development
  • UPDATED: The authors have expanded the 3rd Edition from 9 to 12 chapters to better cover the full scope of child development. Additionally, Chapter 1 has been reorganized and reconceptualized to enhance the learning experience for students. Despite these changes, the authors have largely preserved the organization of the previously existing 9 chapters, making it easy for instructors who have used prior editions to use the present one.

Features of Revel for the 3rd Edition

Embedded videos bring content to life

  • UPDATED: Chapter introduction videos spotlight people from diverse cultural backgrounds discussing their lives and experiences.
  • UPDATED: Apply Your Knowledge as a Professional videos feature individuals with various careers describing their jobs and explaining how knowledge of development and culture influences their work on a daily basis.
  • Topical videos take a closer look at specific topics, such as prenatal development, diagnosing autism spectrum disorder and puberty rituals.

Interactive content keeps students engaged

  • MyVirtualChild is an engaging simulation that immerses students in raising a child from the prenatal period through age 18. Just like in the real world, students' parenting decisions and life choices combine with environmental and genetic factors to shape the development of the virtual child. By immersing students in a customizable virtual world, MyVirtualChild shows how developmental concepts play out over the course of childhood.
  • NEW: Breaking Developments features allow students and instructors to keep up with the latest findings in human development research. These author-written summaries of recent research and cultural trends are updated regularly to help you incorporate cutting-edge developments into the course.

1. Child Development Today: Who, How, and Why
2. Developmental Theories and Contexts: Past and Present
3. Genetics and Prenatal Development
4. Birth and the Newborn Child
5. Infancy
6. Toddlerhood
7. Early Childhood
8. Middle Childhood
9. Early Adolescence
10. Late Adolescence
11. Emerging Adulthood
12. The Future of Child Development

About our authors

Lene Arnett Jensen is Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Psychology at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. She received her Ph.D. in developmental psychology in 1994 from the University of Chicago and did a 1-year postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to coming to Clark University, she taught at the University of Missouri and Catholic University of America. She has also been a visiting professor at Stanford University, Aalborg University in Denmark, Maharaja Sayajirao University in India and the University of Bordeaux in France. She has taught courses on child development for close to 30 years.

Through scholarship and professional collaboration, she aims to move the discipline of psychology toward understanding development in terms of both what is universal and what is cultural. She terms this a “cultural-developmental approach.” Her research addresses moral development and cultural identity formation. Together with her students, she has conducted research in countries such as Denmark, India, Thailand, Turkey and the United States. Her publications include New Horizons in Developmental Theory and Research (2005, with Reed Larson, Jossey-Bass/Wiley), Immigrant Civic Engagement: New Translations (2008, with Constance Flanagan, Taylor-Francis), Bridging Cultural and Developmental Psychology: New Syntheses for Theory, Research and Policy (2011, Oxford University Press), the Oxford Handbook of Human Development and Culture (2015, Oxford University Press), Moral Development in a Global World: Research from a Cultural-Developmental Perspective (2015, Cambridge University Press) and the Oxford Handbook of Moral Development (in press, Oxford University Press).

From 2004 to 2015, she was editor-in-chief for the journal New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development (with Reed Larson). She served as program chair for the 2012 biennial conference of the Society for Research on Adolescence (with Xinyin Chen), and currently serves on awards committees for the Society for Research on Child Development (SRCD) and the Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA). Visit her website for more information.

Jeffrey Jensen Arnett is a Senior Research Scholar in the Department of Psychology at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. He received his Ph.D. in developmental psychology in 1986 from the University of Virginia, and did 3 years of postdoctoral work at the University of Chicago. From 1992 through 1998 he was Associate Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Missouri, where he taught a 300-student life span development course every semester. In the fall of 2005, he was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark; in 2010 and 2011 he was the Nehru Chair at Maharaja Sayajirao University in India; and in 2017 and 2018 he was a Visiting Professor at the University of Bordeaux in France.

His primary scholarly interest for the past 25 years has been in emerging adulthood. He coined the term, and he has conducted research on emerging adults concerning a wide variety of topics, involving several different ethnic groups in American society. He is the Founding President and Executive Director of the Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood (SSEA; From 2005 to 2014 he was the editor of the Journal of Adolescent Research (JAR), and currently he is on the Editorial Board of JAR and five other journals. He has published many theoretical and research papers on emerging adulthood in peer-reviewed journals, as well as the book Emerging Adulthood: The Winding Road from the Late Teens Through the Twenties (2015, 2nd edition, Oxford University Press), among many others. Visit his website for more information.

Jeff and Lene live in Worcester, Massachusetts, with their twins, Miles and Paris.

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