Promoting positive human development and social justice: Integrating theory, research and application in contemporary developmental science

Richard M. Lerner
Published Online:
18 Mar 2015
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 50 Issue 3

Additional Options

The bold claim that developmental science can contribute to both enhancing positive development among diverse individuals across the life span and promoting social justice in their communities, nations and regions is supported by decades of theoretical, methodological and research contributions. To explain the basis of this claim, I describe the relational developmental systems (RDS) metamodel that frames contemporary developmental science, and I present an example of a programme of research within the adolescent portion of the life span that is associated with this metamodel and is pertinent to promoting positive human development. I then discuss methodological issues associated with using RDS‐based models as frames for research and application. Finally, I explain how the theoretical and methodological ideas associated with RDS thinking may provide the scholarly tools needed by developmental scientists seeking to contribute to human thriving and to advance social justice in the Global South.

© 2015 International Union of Psychological Science