Child or Adult: Who's Likely To Change?

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1979, Vol 24(5), 353–354. Reviews the book, Child Effects on Adults by Richard Q. Bell and Lawrence V. Harper (1977). The preface of the book reads “This book is devoted to [the] other side of childrearing and socialization: the way in which parents and other caregiving adults are themselves molded by the very children they are trying to rear.” The authors are faithful to their theme. The book itself is a three-in-one package. It opens with an informative chapter by historian Valerie French on how children influenced adults in ancient Mediterranean cultures. Two clusters of chapters follow–one written by Richard Bell and the other by Lawrence Harper. Bell's contribution is an expansion of his earlier ideas on child effects and how to study and interpret them. Harper's chapters deal with how nonhuman mammals affect their mothers and, more generally, their societies and the course of their species' evolution. The book outlines the methodological and theoretical problems created by this change in perspective, but it is less clear about how to solve them. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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