New Textbook Explores Clashing Views on Controversial Issues

Credit: Delaware Valley University. Dr. Allison Buskirk-Cohen, chair of the undergraduate psychology department at Delaware Valley University

May 07, 2019

Should assisted suicide be legal for everyone? Are fraternities too dangerous for college students? Is an assault weapons ban the best way to reduce school shootings? These types of controversial topics can start heated debates. Rather than shying away from controversial issues, a new psychology textbook is encouraging readers to discuss and analyze different viewpoints on a variety of controversial topics that relate to lifespan development. 

Dr. Allison Buskirk-Cohen, chair of the psychology department at Delaware Valley University, is the editor of “Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Lifespan Development, 7th edition,” a new textbook published by McGraw-Hill.

Dr. Buskirk-Cohen holds a doctorate in human development with a specialization in developmental sciences from the University of Maryland. Always fascinated by youth, Dr. Buskirk-Cohen has been researching how interpersonal relationships influence academic success and well-being. Her research has demonstrated how powerful the need to connect with others is, particularly within education. Her work has been published in peer-reviewed journals and advanced textbooks and presented at academic conferences around the world. Dr. Buskirk-Cohen grew up in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and is currently a resident of Newtown, Pennsylvania. 

The textbook presents readers with two different perspectives on controversial issues related to lifespan development. The sections are broken up into stages of life ranging from infancy to old age. Working with an advisory board, Dr. Buskirk-Cohen determined which issues to include in the text. Once issues were chosen, she selected the accompanying articles from popular press sources, like Newsweek and The Atlantic, as well as from academic journals, such as Human Development. She also constructed questions to promote critical thinking about each issue, identified common ground between the articles and provided additional resources.

Dr. Buskirk-Cohen also served as the editor to the 6th edition, which was published in 2017, and was eager to revise the textbook again.

“I love using this book in the classroom because it challenges students to understand the complexity of these important issues,” said Dr. Buskirk-Cohen.