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The Domain of Developmental Psychopathology

L. Alan Sroufe and Michael Rutter
Child Development
Vol. 55, No. 1 (Feb., 1984), pp. 17-29
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1129832
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1129832
Page Count: 13
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The Domain of Developmental Psychopathology
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Abstract

It is the "developmental" component of developmental psychopathology that distinguishes this discipline from abnormal psychology, psychiatry, and even clinical child psychology. At the same time, the focus on individual patterns of adaptation and maladaptation distinguishes this field from the larger discipline of developmental psychology. In this essay a developmental perspective is presented, and the implications of this perspective for research in developmental psychopathology are discussed. A primary consideration is the complexity of the adaptational process, with developmental transformation being the rule. Thus, links between earlier adaptation and later pathology generally will not be simple or direct. It will be necessary to understand both individual patterns of adaptation with respect to salient issues of a given developmental period and the transaction between prior adaptation, maturational change, and subsequent environmental challenges. Some examples are discussed, with special attention to the case of depression.

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