Wed, 11/07/2018

Call for Papers- American Psychologist Special Issue: Rethinking Adult Development

View the original Call for Papers.

Important Dates

  • 500-Word Letter of Intent Due: November 30, 2018
  • Invitations to Submit a Full-Length Manuscript Sent: January 11, 2019
  • Deadline for Manuscript Submissions: June 3, 2019

Special Issue Editors
Guest Editors

  • Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, PhD, Clark University
  • Oliver Robinson, PhD, University of Greenwich, United Kingdom
  • Margie Lachman, PhD, Brandeis University

Advisory Editor

  • Nancy Eisenberg, PhD


For most of psychology's history, theory and research on psychological development has largely focused on the early years of life. However, adult development promises to rise in importance in the 21st century, as it changes in ways that will be challenging for individuals and their societies. First, an increasing proportion of the world's population is in adulthood, as birth rates fall worldwide and life expectancies increase. Second, the nature of family life during adulthood is changing, as single parenthood becomes more prevalent, cohabitation becomes more common as a prelude or a substitute for marriage, and an increasing proportion of adults choose not to have children. Third, the nature of work is changing as manufacturing jobs decline and the "knowledge economy" ascends, making work less physically taxing but requiring greater education and training, potentially leaving behind those who lack access to this preparation. Fourth, the social welfare programs for older adults established in the 20th century will become increasingly strained in the 21st century as the ratio of adult workers to retirees shrinks, possibly shifting the balance of work and leisure in later adulthood. Together, these changes underscore the importance and necessity of developing new theories of adult development for the decades to come. This special issue will focus on ways of rethinking adult development that will inspire the next generation of research.

Special Issue Aims
This special issue aims to be a landmark contribution sparking a reassessment and reconceptualization of adult development in light of its current changes and likely future. Prospective contributors are encouraged to think boldly and creatively in order to propose new ideas for how to conceptualize adult development for the next century. The primary goal of the special issue is to draw attention to many different aspects of adult development that are currently changing in fascinating and unprecedented ways and to present new theoretical ideas that will inspire future research in light of these changes. Papers should integrate the existing literature on adult development while reconceptualizing it in light of current changes. All contributors should include diversity in their papers. This can be addressed through considering variations by ethnicity, race, gender, SES, and culture. Other considerations such as generational or cohort differences, sociopolitical changes or period effects, changing family structures, and international perspectives are also welcome. Papers should include suggestions for future research and, where appropriate, policy implications and recommendations. The papers may pertain to any phase of adulthood or to multiple phases, from emerging adulthood through later life. Although papers should be primarily theoretical, they may draw from diverse empirical sources, such as national surveys, daily experience sampling, government statistics, and narrative interviews.

Manuscript Submission
Letters of intent should include manuscript title, author names and affiliations, and a 500-word (maximum) abstract of the proposed submission. Abstracts should explain how the proposed paper will address the goals of the special issue. Letters of Intent and all inquiries should be sent by November 30, 2018 to Dr. Jeffrey Arnett. Potential contributors whose Letters of Intent have been approved will be invited to submit a full manuscript. Please note that all papers will be peer-reviewed and there is no guarantee of acceptance. Full manuscripts must be prepared according to the manuscript submission guidelines on the American Psychologist homepage and submitted electronically via the journal's manuscript submission portal. The editors look forward to reviewing the proposals and manuscripts.