Higher Education

Comparing Theories of Child Development, 6th Edition

  • includes InfoTracĀ®
  • R. Murray Thomas University of California, Santa Barbara, Emeritus
  • ISBN-10: 0534607179  |  ISBN-13: 9780534607173
  • 600 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2000, 1996, 1992
  • © 2005 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $231.00



Explaining the nature of theories in the field of child development (including why theories are useful and why there are multiple theories), Thomas' highly respected book covers the widest range of theories of any text currently available. Using the following criteria: "Has the theory been popular?," "Has the theory been influential?," and "Is the theory representative of a class or family of theories?," Thomas identifies the goals and describes the findings of more than two dozen theorists and inspects a series of child development issues that bridge a variety of theories. Additionally, Thomas suggests a variety of ways to compare theories and existing explanations of how a child develops.

Table of Contents

1. Theories, Models, Paradigms, and Such.
2. The Contents of Child Development Theories.
3. Sigmund Freud's Psychoanalysis.
4. Erikson's Variation on Freud's Theme.
5. Skinner's Operant Conditioning.
6. Social-Learning Theory and Contextualism.
7. Piaget's Cognitive Development Theory.
8. Vygotsky and the Soviet Tradition.
9. Information-Processing Theories.
10. Conceptions of the Self: Humanistic and Otherwise.
11. Ecological Psychology.
12. Ethology and Sociobiology.
13. A Bio-Electrochemical Model.
14. Kohlberg's Moral Development Model.
15. Gilligan's Compassionate Caring.
16. Recent Entries.

Efficacy and Outcomes


"The book provides a unique organization of theories and ideas related to child development that encourages learners to make cross connections and to think critically about issues in child development."

— John McClure, Northern Arizona University

"[This is] an easily understood text on a complicated subject. The most current take on the theories is included as well as practical applications."

— Eileen Hogan, Emporia State University

"Its strengths are its coverage of biological, behavioral, cognitive, ecological and psychoanalytic perspectives on development."

— Yash Bhagwanji, University of Louisville

Meet the Author

Author Bio

R. Murray Thomas

R. Murray Thomas taught for 32 years, before retiring in 1991. He is the author of over 300 publications and has published 48 books. His research interests include moral development, folk psychologists, and international education.