The Encyclopedia of the Life Course and Human Development examines three key life stages from a sociological perspective, exploring how enduring experiences, as well as transitions and events such as childcare, education, stress, marriage, career, addiction, friendship, parenthood, disease, spirituality, and retirement influence the individual's life course. The nearly 400 entries in this three-volume set are organized by life stage: Childhood and Adolescence; Adulthood; and Later Life. Included in each is an overview essay that features a detailed discussion of that stage of human development, followed by signed entries that apply sociological as well as economic, biological, psychological, and educational perspectives to a range of topics. Also covered are sociological theories and their significance to life course study; the impact of social and government policies; and racial, gender, and geographic patterns of many life course phenomena. Entries are heavily illustrated with photos, graphs, charts, and tables. Also included is coverage of research methods and key data sources, which enhance and reinforce the topical entries, as well as a glossary, thematic outline, annotated bibliography, and cumulative index.