Development and Vulnerability in Close Relationships

Edited by Gil G. Noam, Kurt W. Fischer

© 1996 – Psychology Press

376 pages

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780805813692
pub: 1996-01-01
US Dollars$100.00

e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

How do people develop in their important relationships? How do two people come together to form a new, close relationship? How do relationships affect or determine who we are and who we become?

These questions should be central to the study of mind and development, but most researchers neglect relationships and focus instead on analyses of individuals, as if people were basically alone, experiencing occasional fleeting moments with other people. Research based on this individualist assumption has dominated the behavioral and clinical sciences, but there are other voices, and they are growing. In this book, many of the scholars who are moving relationships and attachments back to the center of human development outline their central concepts, findings, and perspectives.

People are fundamentally social, and relationships are part of the fabric of being human, forming an essential foundation that molds each person's mind and action. A mind does not reside in one person but in relationships and communities, composed of many people's interconnected minds, which mutually support and define each other. From the start and throughout life, each person develops strengths and vulnerabilities in important relationships in communities and cultures. Those relationships are so central to each person's activity and experience that without them, no scientific explanation can even begin to analyze mind and action. There is no mind without other people. There is no psychological vulnerability that does not involve others.

The contributors to this book aim to establish a firm foundation for the role of relationships in human activity and health and to promote strong research by bringing together in one place most of the best research and theory on development and relationships. Their goal is to stimulate a more radical inclusion of relationships in mind, an ecological focus on the ways that relationships constitute action, feeling, and thought.


"There is a balanced blend of theoretical modeling, clinical case illustration, research literature review, and empirical data presentation. The text is well-written and often thought-provoking. This book should prove useful to both clinical and academic professionals interested in how close relationships may both facilitate and hinder individual development."

Child Development Abstracts & Bibliography

"…this book fills a needed gap. It is one of the rare books from academe that gives a balanced hearing to theory, to research, and to clinical case studies. The editors and authors have done an excellent job of exploring a topic that is central to all those who study and work with people who are, or who long to be, in close relationships."

Journal of Feminist Family Therapy

"It is one of the rare books from the academe that give a balanced hearing to theory, to research, and to clinical case studies. The editors and authors have done an excellent job of exploring a topic that is central to all those who study and work with people who are, or who long to be, in close relationships."

Journal of Feminist Family Therapy

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: The Foundational Role of Relationships in Human Development. Part I: Attachment and the Construction of Close Relationships. I. Bretherton, Internal Working Models of Attachment Relationships as Related to Resilient Coping. P.R. Shaver, C.L. Clark, Forms of Adult Romantic Attachment and Their Cognitive and Emotional Underpinnings. R. Case, The Role of Psychological Defenses in the Representation and Regulation of Close Personal Relationships Across the Life Span. Part II: Cognitive Development and Relationships. W. Edelstein, The Social Construction of Cognitive Development. T. Gouin-Décarie, M. Ricard, Revisiting Piaget Revisited or the Vulnerability of Piaget's Infancy Theory in the 1990s. Part III: Construction of Vulnerabilities and Strengths in Relationships. G.G. Noam, Reconceptualizing Maturity: The Search for Deeper Meaning. K.W. Fischer, C. Ayoub, Analyzing Development of Working Models of Close Relationships: Illustration with a Case of Vulnerability and Violence. M.Z. Levitt, R.L. Selman, The Personal Meaning of Risk Behavior: A Developmental Perspective on Friendship and Fighting in Early Adolescence. Part IV: Dynamics and Themes of Relationship in Personality Development. C. Gilligan, The Centrality of Relationship in Human Development: A Puzzle, Some Evidence, and a Theory. J.F. Benenson, Gender Differences in the Development of Relationships. L. Luborsky, E. Luborsky, L. Diguer, K. Schmidt, D. Dengler, P. Schaffler, J. Faude, M. Morris, H. Buchsbaum, R. Emde, Extending the Core Relationship Theme Into Early Childhood. S.J. Blatt, R.B. Blass, Relatedness and Self-Definition: A Dialectic Model of Personality Development.

About the Series

Jean Piaget Symposia Series

Each year, following their annual meeting, the Jean Piaget Society publishes an edited volume.  This approximately 300-page volume covers the main themes of the symposium and is published by Psychology Press.

Members of the society receive the volume free of charge. Non-members can order copies from this website.

About the Jean Piaget Society

The Jean Piaget Society, established in 1970, has an international, interdisciplinary membership of scholars, teachers and researchers interested in exploring the nature of the developmental construction of human knowledge. The Society was named in honor of the Swiss developmentalist, Jean Piaget, who made major theoretical and empirical contributions to our understanding of the origins and evolution of knowledge.

The Society's aim is to provide an open forum, through symposia, books, our journal, and other publications, for the presentation and discussion of scholarly work on issues related to human knowledge and its development. The Society further encourages the application of advances in the understanding of development to education and other domains.

In 1989, the name of the Society was changed to Jean Piaget Society: Society for the Study of Knowledge and Development.

You can find out more on the Jean Piaget Society website at .

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Developmental / General