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date: 03 December 2020

Social Development Across the Lifespanlocked

  • Kendall Cotton Bronk, Kendall Cotton BronkClaremont Graduate University, Department of Psychology
  • Elyse Postlewaite, Elyse PostlewaiteClaremont Graduate University, Department of Psychology
  • Betsy Blackard, Betsy BlackardClaremont Graduate University, Department of Psychology
  • Jordan BoederJordan BoederClaremont Graduate University, Department of Psychology
  •  and Hannah LucasHannah LucasClaremont Graduate University, Department of Psychology


Social development refers to the process through which individuals learn to get along with others. It encompasses the formation of friendships and romantic relationships as well as experiences of bullying and loneliness. Across the life span, cognitive development enables increasingly complex social interactions, and the most important contexts for social development expand. Early in life, family is the primary context for social development, but in adulthood the social world grows to include peers, colleagues, and others. Social development is critical for well-being. Research finds that the lasting social bonds that individuals form are perhaps the most important ingredient in a life well lived.

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