Views the person as developing within a complex system of relationships affected by multiple levels of the surrounding environment that is ever-changing.
- introduced by Bronfenbrenner
- it is the most differentiated and complete account of contextual influences on development
- He envisioned the environment as a series of nested structures, including but also extending beyond the home, school, neighborhood, and workplace settings in which people spend their everyday lives.
- 4 structures: Microsystem, Mesosystem, Exosystem, Macrosystem but also the Chronosystem (time)
- "Whenever individuals add or let go of rules in their lives, the breadth of their microsystems changes. These shifts in contexts - or ecological transitions - are often important turning points in development."
- ex: marriage, entering workforce, parenthood, divorce, moving, retiring