Adaptation often refers to the effectiveness of individuals’ functioning in the environment. Individuals differ in the quality of their adaptation, and these differences have a strong developmental component that encompasses the lifespan. In general, individual development is coherent and individual differences in adaptive functioning show continuity over time. Throughout individuals’ lives, the quality of their adaptation at earlier stages of development forecasts how well they will adapt at later stages.

However, this argument does not preclude the possibility for change in adaptation. Individuals with a similar adaptive functioning at one point in time may follow different developmental trajectories. How well individuals adapt to their environment and to life’s challenges depends not only on the quality of their prior adaptation but also on the dynamic interplay between ...

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