What is Developmental Psychopathology?

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Developmental psychopathology

Developmental psychopathology is a relatively new field, which offers a unique perspective on dysfunctional behavior by integrating work from many disciplines, including developmental, clinical and abnormal psychology.

This field takes a lifespan perspective on disturbed behavior by assuming it is an outgrowth of complex but lawful developmental processes, like depression or conduct disorder, emerged in the same way healthy ones do: as a function of the individual’s attempt to adapt to her environment.

In contrast to the often dichotomous world of mental disorder/non-disorder depicted in psychiatry, a developmental psychopathology perspective recognizes normality often fades into abnormality, adaptive and maladaptive may take on differing definitions depending on whether one’s time referent is due to immediate circumstances or long-term development, and processes within the individual can be characterized as having shades or degrees of psychopathology.

photo by Issac Mao / CC by 2.0

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