ADAPTATION TO LIFE

Front Cover
Harvard University Press, 1977 - Psychology - 396 pages
14 Reviews

Between 1939 and 1942, one of America's leading universities recruited 268 of its healthiest and most promising undergraduates to participate in a revolutionary new study of the human life cycle. The originators of the program, which came to be known as the Grant Study, felt that medical research was too heavily weighted in the direction of disease, and their intent was to chart the ways in which a group of promising individuals coped with their lives over the course of many years.

Nearly forty years later, George E. Vaillant, director of the Study, took the measure of the Grant Study men. The result was the compelling, provocative classic, Adaptation to Life, which poses fundamental questions about the individual differences in confronting life's stresses. Why do some of us cope so well with the portion life offers us, while others, who have had similar advantages (or disadvantages), cope badly or not at all? Are there ways we can effectively alter those patterns of behavior that make us unhappy, unhealthy, and unwise?

George Vaillant discusses these and other questions in terms of a clearly defined scheme of "adaptive mechanisms" that are rated mature, neurotic, immature, or psychotic, and illustrates, with case histories, each method of coping.

  

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Review: Adaptation to Life

User Review  - Ryan - Goodreads

Two quotes from the Conclusion sum up this book quite well: "Neither a sextant nor a celestial map can predict where we should go; but both are invaluable in letting us identify where we are ... Read full review

Review: Adaptation to Life

User Review  - Alex Ball - Goodreads

Adaptation to Life provides an insightful look into the maturing ego defenses of a group of well-adjusted young men studied from the early 20th century through their later years ending in 1977 ... Read full review

Contents

Mental Health
13
The Men of the Grant Study
30
How They Were Studied
41
Health RedefinedThe Joyful Expression of
53
Adaptive Ego MechanismsA Hierarchy
75
Sublimation
91
Suppression Anticipation Altruism and Humor
105
The Neurotic Defenses
127
The Immature Defenses
158
Developmental Consequences of Adaptation
193
The Maturing Ego
329
What Is Mental HealthA Reprise
351
A Summary
368
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About the author (1977)

George E. Vaillant is Professor of Psychiatry, Brigham and Women's Hospital.

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