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Psychology and the
Challenges of Life

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Psychology and the
Challenges of Life


Adjustment and Growth
Jeffrey S. Nevid
St. John’s University

Spencer A. Rathus
College of New Jersey

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Front Cover Photo
Chapter Opener credits (left to right)

Jay O’Callaghan
Christopher Johnson
Brittany Cheetham
Beth Tripmacher
Lynn Cohen
Darnell Sessoms
Maura Gilligan
Micheline Frederick
Sandra Rigby
Anita Castro
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Madelyn Lesure
Margaret Barrett
Suzanne Ingrao/Ingrao Associates
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Welcome to the new edition of Psychology and the Challenges of Life: Adjustment
and Growth. In this 12th edition, we continue to reflect on the many ways in which
psychology relates to the lives we live and the important role that psychology can
play in helping us adjust to the many challenges we face in our daily lives. Throughout
this text, we explore applications of psychological concepts and principles in meeting
life challenges such as managing our time, developing our self-identity, building and
maintaining friendships and intimate relationships, adopting healthier behaviors and
lifestyles, coping with stress, and dealing with emotional problems and psychological
disorders. In these uncertain times, we feel it is also appropriate to examine how we
can face challenges that arise from broader threats we face as a nation, especially
threats posed by natural disasters and acts of terrorism.
Students today are part of the most wired, plugged in generation in human history. They are a Googling, IM’ing, Facebooking, texting, and iPoding generation.
Millennials—people born between 1980 and 2002—have never known a time without the Internet, the World Wide Web, and cell phones. The use of avatars, or alter
egos in cyberspace, is creating a whole new type of psychological identity. At around
the time that today’s college-age students were born, a web was something that only
spiders spun, tablets were used only to administer medication, and mobile phones
were so bulky, cumbersome, and expensive that only a few business executives and
military personnel used them.
In these past few editions we have addressed questions about the impact of
changing technology on our psychological adjustment. In this edition, we expand
this effort by considering how social media affects our psychological adjustment.
But even as we reflect on these changes and the challenges they pose, we maintain
our focus on core issues in the psychology of adjustment and personal growth.
With these goals in mind, we approached the writing of this edition with several
clear objectives that have defined this text through many editions:
❚ To communicate the scientific bases of psychology through coverage of research
methods, review of classic studies in psychology that inform our understanding
of underlying issues, and comprehensive coverage of research reported in the
scientific literature during the past few years;
❚ To apply psychological principles to help readers meet the challenges they face
in daily life, to resolve problems, and to reach their unique potentials;
❚ To reflect the importance of human diversity in our lives today;
❚ To provide a comprehensive pedagogical package that stimulates learning and
strengthens memory;
❚ To motivate students through the abundant use of humor and personal anecdotes; and
❚ To present abstract, complex concepts in energetic, accessible prose that speaks
directly to students, not down to them.

What’s New In This Edition
The psychology of adjustment course exposes students to applications of psychology in their daily lives. We want the study of adjustment and growth to be personally

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MyLife, MyPsych


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