What Is Applied Developmental Psychology?

Applied developmental psychology is concerned with enhancing developmental processes and preventing the development of psychopathology in individuals and families across the life span. It uses the knowledge base and methodologies of developmental science to assist the development of individuals who vary in cultural and ethnic background, economic and social opportunity, physical, social, emotional, and cognitive abilities, and conditions of living (e.g., families, neighborhoods, communities, and physical settings).

Activities of applied developmental psychologists include:

  • applied research on questions concerning children's development
  • the study of developmental correlates and outcomes of contemporary social phenomena (i.e., child care, parenting transitions, poverty, low birth weight, schooling, media use etc.)
  • construction, validation, and utilization of developmental assessment instruments
  • the design, implementation, and evaluation of interventions for improving the welfare of children
  • the dissemination of developmental science knowledge to groups and individuals through education, written materials, the mass media, advocacy, and expert testimony.