1st Edition

Psychosocial Development in Adolescence
Insights from the Dynamic Systems Approach

ISBN 9781315165844
Published April 25, 2019 by Routledge
274 Pages

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Book Description

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 psychosocial development in adolescence. Subsequently, different experts discuss why and how we should 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.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Introduction to a dynamic systems approach to psychosocial development in adolsence
Naomi M.P. de Ruiter, Mandy A.E. van der Gaag, Bertus F. Jeronimus, and E. Saskia Kunnen

Chapter 2. Systems in transition: the adolescent phase transition
Tom Hollenstein and Tiffany Tsui

Chapter 3. Matching methods to theory: using dynamic systems models to understand nested systems of adolescent development
Nancy Darling and Ian Burns

Chapter 4. A nonlinear dynamic systems approach to psychological interventions
Günter Schiepek, Helmut Schöller, Roswitha Carl, Wolfgang Aichhorn, and Anna Lichtwarck-Aschoff

Chapter 5. Conflict dynamics and the transformation of the parent-adolescent relationship
Jessica P. Lougheed

Chapter 6. The nature of adolescents’ real-time self-esteem from a dynamic systems perspective: the socially embedded self-esteem model
Naomi M.P. de Ruiter

Chapter 7. Dynamic system perspectives on anxiety and depression
Bertus F. Jeronimus

Chapter 8. Trajectories preceding student dropout: an intra-individual process approach
Mandy A.E. van der Gaag, E. Saskia Kunnen, and Paul L.C. van Geert

Chapter 9. Identity development from a dynamic dystems perspective
E. Saskia Kunnen

Chapter 10. Youth’s sexual relationships and development: improving our understanding through a dynamic systems approach
Daphne van de Bongardt

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

Chapter 12. Social development and group processes: a social network application to bullying and network interventions
Gijs Huitsing, Jan K. Dijkstra, and René Veenstra

Chapter 13. Visualizing individual dynamics: the case of a talented adolescent
Joske K. van der Sluis, Steffie van der Steen, Gert Stulp, and Ruud J.R. den Hartigh

Chapter 14. conclusion and Discussion: what we can gain from a dynamic systems approach to psychosocial development in adolescence
Mandy A.E. van der Gaag, Naomi M.P. de Ruiter, Bertus F. Jeronimus, and E. Saskia Kunnen

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E. Saskia Kunnen is an Associate Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Groningen.

Naomi M.P. de Ruiter is an Assistant Professor of Social Sciences at the University College Groningen within the University of Groningen.

Bertus F. Jeronimus is an Assistant Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Groningen.

Mandy A.E. van der Gaag is a Postdoctoral Researcher of Developmental Psychology at the University of Groningen.


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 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 that is now needed in adolescent research globally. Psychosocial Development in Adolescence: Insights from the Dynamic Systems Approach is a much needed call to join an important new approach. 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 is essential, the DSA approach offers a richer way to solve these problems as a worldwide community of curious people who wonder about the fundamental new insights of the adolescent development.

Professor Katariina Salmela-Aro, Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland