Developmental figures: an attempt at conceptualization and classification


Słowa kluczowe:

personal development, figures, significant person


The subject of this paper deals with the theoretical area of personality psychology and lifespan psychology. This paper presents a novel approach to the social context of personal development, as a certain terminological gap regarding the category of the developmental figure has been observed. I propose that the developmental figure be defined, analogically to the attachment figure or the transition figure, as an individual who has significant meaning to another person’s psychosocial development. Developmental figures can be categorized on the basis of various criteria; for example, based on the type of implications for development we can identify progressive and regressive figures; based on the strength of the influence we identify primary and secondary figures; based on the type of social relation we can identify direct and indirect figures; and based on the duration of the influence we can identify sporadic and frequent interactions.


Download data is not yet available.


Arnett, J. J. (2002). The psychology of globalization. American Psychologist, 57, 774–783.

Bakiera, L. (2016a). Aversive parenting. An attempt of conceptualization. In: H. Liberska & M. Farnicka (Eds.). Aggression as a challenge: Theory and research. Current problems (pp. 187–198). Peter Lang Publishing.

Bakiera, L. (2016b). Mentoring rozwojowy jako przykład komplementarności międzypokoleniowej [Developmental mentoring from the perspective of intergenerational complementarity]. E-Mentor, 5, 4–13.

Bakiera, L., & Harwas-Napierała, B. (2016). Wzory osobowe w rozwoju człowieka [Personal patterns in human development]. Wydawnictwo Naukowe UAM.

Bakiera, L., & Stelter, Ż. (2011). Leksykon psychologii rozwoju człowieka [Lexicon of the psychology of human development]. Difin.

Baltes, P. B., & Smith, J. (2004). Life span psychology: From developmental contextualism to developmental biocultural constructivism. Research in Human Development, 1, 123–143.

Beisert, M., & Izdebska, A. (2013). Wykorzystywanie seksualne dzieci [Sexual abuse of children]. Dziecko Krzywdzone, 2, 48–66.

Bowlby, J. (1988). A secure base: Clinical applications of attachment theory. Routledge.

Caspi, A., & Roberts, B. W. (2001). Personality development across the life course: The argument for change and continuity. Psychological Inquiry, 12, 49–66.

Chambers, J. A., Power, K. G., & Durham, R. C. (2004). Parental styles and long-term outcome following treatment for anxiety disorders. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 11, 187–198.

Costa, P. T., McCrae, R. R., & Löckenhoff, C. E. (2019). Personality across the life span. Annual Review of Psychology, 70, 423–448.

Erikson, E. H. (1980). Identity and the life cycle. W. W. Norton & Company.

Erikson, E. H. (1982). The life cycle completed. W. W. Norton & Company.

Farber, B. A., Lippert, R. A., & Nevas, D. B. (1995). The therapist as attachment figure. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 32, 204–212.

Funder, D. C. (2001). Personality. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 197–221.

Gallagher, E., Huth-Bocks, A., & Levendosky, A. (2009). Parenting in the context of domestic violence: Unique stresses and outcomes. In P. H. Krause & T. M. Dailey (Eds.), Handbook of parenting. Styles, stresses, and strategies (pp. 291–314). Nova Science Publishers.

Goldberg, S. (2000). Attachment and development. Arnold.

Harari, Y. N. (2019). Sapiens. Od zwierząt do bogów [Sapiens. From animals to gods]. Wydawnictwo Literackie.

Lerner, R. M., & Hultsch, D. F. (1983). Human development. A life-span perspective. McGraw Hill.

Levendosky, A. A., Leahy, K. L., Bogat, G. A., Davidson, W. S., & Von Eye, A. (2006). Domestic violence, maternal parenting, maternal mental health, and infant externalizing behavior. Journal of Family Psychology, 20, 544–552.

Levinson, D. J. (1978). The seasons of a man’s life. Knopf. Oleszkowicz, A. (2014). Bunt młodzieńczy wczoraj i dzisiaj. Perspektywa dziesięciu lat [Youth rebellion yesterday and today. Ten-year perspective]. Prace Psychologiczne, 62, 191–221.

Ponce, A. N., Williams, M. K., & Allen, G. J. (2005). Toward promoting generative cultures of intentional mentoring within academic settings. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 61, 1159–1163.

Reis, H. T., & Patrick, B. C. (1996). Attachment and intimacy: Component processes. In E. T. Higgins & A. Kruglanski (Eds.), Social psychology. Handbook of basic principles (pp. 523–563). Guilford Press.

Roach, B., Goodwin, N., & Nelson, J. (2019). Consumption and the consumer society. Routledge.

Seibert, A. C., & Kerns, K. A. (2009). Attachment figures in middle childhood. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 33, 347–355. https://doi. org/10.1177/0165025409103872.

Siuta, J. (2005) (Ed.). Słownik psychologii [Dictionary of psychology]. Zielona Sowa.

Targowski, A. (2015). Western civilization in the 21st century. Bloomsbury Academic.

Taubman-Ben-Ari, O., & Findler, L. (2005). Proximal and distal effects of mortality salience on willingness to engage health promoting behavior along the life span. Psychology and Health, 20, 303–318.

Trinke, S. J., & Bartholomew, K. (1997). Hierarchies of attachment relationships in young adulthood. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 14, 603–625.

Umemura, T., Lacinova, L., Kraus, J., Horska. E., & Pivodova, L. (2018). Adolescents’ multiple versus single primary attachment figures, reorganization of attachment hierarchy, and adjustments: the important people interview approach. Attachment & Human Development, 20, 532–552.

Wani, H. A. (2011). Impact of globalization on world culture. Research Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 2, 33–39.



Jak cytować

Bakiera, L. T. (2023). Developmental figures: an attempt at conceptualization and classification. Current Issues in Personality Psychology, 11(2), 121–129. Pobrano z