Bronfenbrenner's Chronosystem: Definition & Examples

Bronfenbrenner's Chronosystem: Definition & Examples
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  • 0:01 Definition
  • 0:19 Introduction
  • 2:19 Bronfenbrenner's Chronosystem
  • 3:33 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yolanda Williams

Yolanda has taught college Psychology and Ethics, and has a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision.

Urie Bronfenbrenner is a famous developmental psychologists known for his ecological systems theory. Learn more about Bronfenbrenner's theory and the role of the chronosystem in childhood development.


The chronosystem is made up of the environmental events and transitions that occur throughout a child's life, including any sociohistorical events. The chronosystem is one of five systems in Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems theory.

Introduction to Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Systems Theory

In 1979, Urie Bronfenbrenner created his ecological systems theory to explain how their immediate and surrounding environment affects the way in which children grow and develop. There are five different environmental systems that influence childhood development. If there is a change in any one of the five environmental systems, it can potentially cause a change in the others. The name of the five systems are:

  • Microsystem
  • Mesosystem
  • Exosystem
  • Macrosystem
  • Chronosystem

Here you can see a visual description of Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems theory:


A child lies in the middle of the image. Each circle that surrounds the child is a different layer or environmental system that affects the child's growth and development.

The microsystem is depicted by the green circle. It's where the immediate interactions of the child take place. The microsystem includes both family and peers.

The mesosystem is depicted by the tan circle. It contains the interactions between two microsystems. Having your friends (or your peer microsystem) attend a family gathering (your family microsystem) is an example of a mesosystem.

The blue circle is the exosystem. It contains the environmental settings in which the child is not actively involved but that nonetheless have a significant influence on the child. An example of an exosystem would be if the child's father was laid off from work.

The macrosystem, which is the larger cultural context, is represented by the purple circle. It includes the political beliefs of the child's culture.

The chronosystem is represented by the white crescent shape outside of the circle.

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