This book examines new developments in the area of human competence and coping behavior. It sets forth a conceptual framework that considers the interplay between environmental contexts and personal resources and their impact on how indi viduals cope with life transitions and crises. The selections cover the tasks confronted in varied life crises and describe the coping strategies employed in managing them. The material identifies the long-term effects of such life events as divorce and bereave ment as well as the way in which these stressors can promote personal growth and maturity. The book contains a broad selec tion of recent literature on coping and adaptation, integrative commentaries that provide the background for each of the areas as well as conceptual linkages among them, and an introductory overview that presents a general perspective on human compe tence and coping. Illustrative case examples are included. The first part of the book is organized chronologically ac cording to developmental life transitions confronted by many people-from the childhood years through adolescence, career choice and parenthood, divorce and remarriage, middle age and retirement, and death and bereavement. The second part covers unusual life crises and other hazards that typically involve ex treme stress such as man-made and natural disasters and terrorism. The book highlights effective coping behavior among healthy individuals rather than psychological breakdown and psychiatric symptoms. The emphasis is on successful adaptation, the ability to cope with life transitions and crises, and the process by which such ix x PREFACf. ".