Continuity–Discontinuity Issue

How may development be described or explained across the lifespan? If the attributes of a person are described or explained in the same ways across different points in life, then continuity exists. If descriptions or explanations of a person’s attributes vary across the course of life, then discontinuity exists. There is a need, however, for greater specification and clarification of the continuity–discontinuity issue. This entry describes the concept of continuity–discontinuity and provides examples of continuity–discontinuity across the lifespan.

In seeking to systematically represent the changes a person goes through across time, that is, in trying to describe within-person change, one may ask if the behavior, cognitions, or emotions being described take the same form across time. Simply, do the behaviors, cognitions, or emotions look the ...

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