Overview of Theories of Child Development

Report
Overview of Theories of Child
Development
Dorothy Stubbe, M.D.
Yale Child Study Center
Goals and Objectives
1. To review some of the major theories
and concepts of normal human
development
2. To highlight the utility and limitations of
developmental stage theories
3. To utilize vignettes of a normal child to
highlight key concepts in child
development
Outline
• Historical Context of views of human
development
• Developmental Issues
• Three Theories of Child Development
• Psychoanalytic
• Cognitive
• Behavioral
The measure of a society
is its reverence for
children
-Arnold Gesell
1. The Nature Nurture Debates
Three Centuries and Going Strong
Jean Jacques Rousseau
(1712-1778)
Innate goodness
Maturation
Genes
John Locke
(1632-1704)
Tabula rasa
Experience
Environment
Influence of Life Stress on Depression:
Moderation by a Polymorphism in the 5-HTT Gene
Caspi et al, Science 2003
2. Is Development Continuous?
Discontinuity
Maturation
Distinct stages
Continuity
Experience
Smooth phases
3. Early vs. Late Influences
Goodness of Fit
Primary Parental
Preoccupations
Transitional
Object
Good Enough
Mother
Behavioral Learning Theories
• Classical Conditioning
– Pavlov
– Watson– fear reaction in little Albert
– John Wolpe and systematic
desensitization
• Operant Conditioning
– Thorndike and Law of Effect
– BF Skinner and Behaviorism
Classical Conditioning
• Classical conditioning in practice
– Example: fear of doctors after
vaccination
• Treatments
– Extinction (systematic desensitization)
– Treatments of fears and phobias
Operant Conditioning
• Reinforcements
• Positive
• Negative
• Punishment
• Clinical Relevance
• Sticker charts and positive reinforcements
• Behavior plans
• Parent management training
• Biofeedback
• Job satisfaction
Important Theorists
• Psychodynamic
– Sigmund Freud– psychosexual stages
– Erik Erikson– epigenic model of
developmental stages throughout life
– Anna Freud– ego psychology and
defense mechanisms
Important Theorists
• Object relations theory
– Winnicott– good enough mother and
transitional object
– John Bowlby– attachment theory
– Margaret Mahler– separation and
individuation and rapprochement
crisis
– Daniel Stern– Interpersonal World of
the Infant and 4 senses of self
(Emergent, Core, Subjective and
Verbal). Cognitive-emotional-and
internal development are intertwined
Development Matters
Gender Matters
Learning Objectives:
Review
1. How may we advance from the nature-nurture
controversy to a deeper understanding of
child development?
2. How may understanding three major schools
of thought on human development inform our
work in child and adolescent psychiatry?
3. Which theories of human development may
be most helpful in psychoeducation of a
parent on appropriate discipline techniques?

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