Psychosocial Development in Adolescence: Insights from the Dynamic Systems Approach, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Psychosocial Development in Adolescence

Insights from the Dynamic Systems Approach, 1st Edition

Edited by Saskia Kunnen, Naomi de Ruiter, Mandy van der Gaag


272 pages

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Paperback: 9781138055568
pub: 2019-05-17
Available for pre-order
Hardback: 9781138055551
pub: 2019-05-17
Available for pre-order

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Over recent years, it has become clear that group-based approaches cannot directly be used to understand individual adolescent development. For that reason, interest in Dynamic Systems Theory, or DST, has increased rapidly. Psychosocial Development in Adolescence: Insights from the Dynamic Systems Approach covers state-of-the-art insights into adolescent development that have resulted from adopting a dynamic systems approach.

The first chapter of the book provides a basic introduction into dynamic systems principles and explains their consequences for the study of development. Subsequently, different experts discuss why and how we can apply a dynamic systems approach to the study of the adolescent transition period and psychological interventions. Various examples of the application of a dynamic systems approach are showcased, ranging from basic to more advanced techniques, as well as the insights they have generated. These applications cover a variety of fundamental topics in adolescent development, ranging from the development of identity, morality, sexuality, and peer-networks, to more applied topics such as psychological interventions, educational dropout, and talent development.

This book will be invaluable to both beginner- and expert-level students and researchers interested in a dynamic systems approach and in the insights that it has yielded for adolescent development.


Researchers studying adolescent development have often identified that one size does not fit all. For a long time we have lacked the proper tools to explore these individual processes in adolescent development. Psychosocial development in adolescence: Insights from the Dynamic Systems Approach is a roadmap for encouraging wonder and discovery of these individual processes. Now it is a time to make a difference and take seriously the individual processes when studying adolescent development. Dynamic Systems Approach (DSA) is the fundamental approach behind the roadmap. Like any forefront scientific investigation, DSA gives us new tools and methods to examine individual processes. It seems possible that widespread use of these techniques could spur a return to the kind of new approach what is now needed in adolescent research globally. Psychosocial development in adolescence: Insights from the Dynamic Systems Approach is a call to join an important new approach strongly needed. It encourages us all to ask new questions. It inspires us to share the questions we ask every day. It motivates us to keep asking until we find routes to the answers. In a world where understanding diverse and individual pathways, the DSA approach offers a richer way to solve these problems as a world-wide community of curious people who wonder about the fundamental new insights of the adolescent development.

Katariina Salmela-Aro, Professor, PhD

Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Introduction

Chapter 2. Systems in Transition: The Adolescent Phase Transition

Chapter 3. Matching Methods To Theory: Using Dynamic Systems Models To Understand Nested Systems of Adolescent Development

Chapter 4. A Nonlinear Dynamic Systems Approach to Psychological Interventions

Chapter 5. Conflict Dynamics and the transformation of the parent-adolescent relationship

Chapter 6. The nature of adolescents’ real-time self-esteem from a Dynamic Systems perspective: The Socially Embedded Self-Esteem model

Chapter 7. Dynamic System Perspectives on Anxiety and Depression

Chapter 8. Trajectories preceding student dropout: an intra-individual process approach

Chapter 9. Identity Development from a Dynamic Systems Perspective

Chapter 10. Youth’s Sexual Relationships and Development: Improving our Understanding Through a Dynamic Systems Approach

Chapter 11. Dynamic developmental complexity of moral motivation for adolescents and young adults

Chapter 12. Social Development and Group Processes: A Social Network Application to Bullying and Network Interventions

Chapter 13. Visualizing Individual Dynamics: The Case of a Talented Adolescent

Chapter 14. Conclusion and Discussion

About the Editors

Saskia Kunnen is an associate professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Groningen.

Naomi de Ruiter is an assistant professor of Social Sciences at the University College Groningen within the University of Groningen.

Mandy van der Gaag is a postdoctoral researcher of Developmental Psychology at the University of Groningen.

Bertus Jeronimus is an assistant professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Groningen.

About the Series

Studies in Adolescent Development

The Studies in Adolescent Development series is published in conjunction with the European Association for Research on Adolescence and is committed to publishing and promoting the highest quality of writing in the field of adolescent development.

The series aims to respond to the recent shifts in the social and ecological environment of adolescents and in the new theoretical perspectives within the social science by providing a range of books, each of which deals in-depth with an aspect of current interest within the field of adolescent development.

Each book focuses on a specific aspect of adolescence and provides either a clear picture of the research endeavours which are currently serving to extend the boundaries of our knowledge and understanding of the field, or an insightful theoretical perspective of adolescent development. The editors encourage publications which represent original contributions to the field.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Developmental / Adolescent