Developmental Ecological Psychology and a Coalition of Ecological–Relational Developmental Approaches

Document Type


Publication Date



Developmental Publications by Dent, C. H., Dent-Read, C., and Read, C. are by the same author. Ecological Psychology began to conceptualize develop–ment in terms of the organism-environment system at a time when it was far from accepted to think about development in dynamic and systems terms. In this theoretical review, we argue that Developmental Ecological Psychology, based on mutualist ecological realism, has much to give to and to gain from other approaches to development that aim at building a developmental science on ecological–relational foundations. However, in order to exert greater influence, Developmental Ecological Psychology should pay attention to organismic development in a wider sense and should provide comprehensive theorizing about development as an ongoing and extended life process in multiple contexts. We review the theoretical foundations and prominent research directions in Develop- mental Ecological Psychology, noting strengths as well as lacunae. Then we move on to review major approaches that are partners for Developmental Ecological Psychology in a currently forming “coalition” of ecological–relational developmental science. In particular, we align the contributions of biologically rooted developmental systems approaches, dynamic systems approaches, phenomenologically rooted approaches, and sociocultural approaches. We focus on common ground, affinities, and synergies among these approaches and with Developmental Ecological Psychology. Thus, we define Developmental Ecological Psychology as an evolving, open discipline, seeking and finding principled cross-fertilization with a broad array of other relevant streams of thought. 1 1

Publication Name

Ecological Psychology

Volume Number


First Page


Last Page


Issue Number




This document is currently not available here.