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Dev Psychopathol. 1997 Spring;9(2):251-68.

Psychopathology as an outcome of development.

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Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 55455, USA.


When maladaptation is viewed as development rather than as disease, a transformed understanding results and a fundamentally different research agenda emerges. Within a developmental perspective, maladaptation is viewed as evolving through the successive adaptations of persons in their environments. It is not something a person "has" or an ineluctable expression of an endogenous pathogen. It is the complex result of a myriad of risk and protective factors operating over time. Key research questions within this framework center on discovery of factors that place individuals on pathways probabilistically leading to later disturbances and factors and processes which maintain individuals on, or deflect them from, such pathways once enjoined. There is an interest in recognizing patterns of maladaptation which, while not properly considered disorder themselves, commonly are precursors of disorder and also in conditions of risk that lie outside of the individual, as well as any endogenous influences. Likewise, there is a focus on factors and processes that lead individuals away from disorder that has emerged, which goes beyond interest in management of symptoms. Finally, many topics that currently are capturing attention in the field, such as "comorbidity" and "resilience," are seen in new ways from within the perspective of development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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