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Demos, V.E. (1989). A Prospective Constructionist View of Development. Ann. Psychoanal., 17:287-308.

(1989). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 17:287-308

V Psychoanalysis and Child Development

A Prospective Constructionist View of Development

Virginia E. Demos, Ed.D

This paper will discuss development in the first two years of life and will focus on what I and my colleagues have learned while working on a remarkable longitudinal study headed by Dr. Louis Sander. Let me begin with a brief description of the study. It was originally designed by Dr. Eleanor Pavenstedt in 1954, when she was chairman of the Department of Child Psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine, and it was funded for the first five years by NIMH. Her goals were to provide a training resource for the child fellows who were learning to interview families, and to study the effects of different levels of maternal maturity on the developing infant. Thus thirty families, all expecting their first child, were selected to participate in the study. They were selected on the basis of an extensive prenatal assessment to represent three different levels or degrees of maternal psychological maturity.

I used the word “remarkable” earlier when referring to this study because of the richness and density of data that were collected on the children over first three years of their lives.

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