There is an increasing awareness and acknowledgment that development during early adolescence is a period characterized by multiple pathways and individual differences (see Lerner, chapter 1, this volume). Unfortunately, at this point in history, there are considerable limitations to the understanding of this “diversity” within early adolescence, due to limitations in the selection of research populations, the historical focus of developmental researchers on ethic dimensions of development and heavy reliance on reductionistic methodology, and biases affecting the interpretive validity of research findings. Focusing on the family as a developmental context, this chapter examines the issues relevant to the study of ecological and cultural variables that may affect development during early adolescence. This includes a review of issues relevant to the study of cultural issues focusing on adolescents and their families, an analysis of available research, and suggestions for new directions in the study of families and adolescents.