Developmental psychopathology
Developmental psychopathology is the study of the development of psychological disorders, such as psychopathy
Psychopathy is a mental disorder characterized primarily by a lack of empathy and remorse, shallow emotions, egocentricity, and deceptiveness. Psychopaths are highly prone to antisocial behavior and abusive treatment of others, and are very disproportionately responsible for violent crime...

, autism
Autism is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. These signs all begin before a child is three years old. Autism affects information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their...

, schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by a disintegration of thought processes and of emotional responsiveness. It most commonly manifests itself as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking, and it is accompanied by significant social...

 and depression
Clinical depression
Major depressive disorder is a mental disorder characterized by an all-encompassing low mood accompanied by low self-esteem, and by loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities...

, with a lifecourse perspective.

Developmental psychopathology is a sub-field of developmental psychology
Developmental psychology
Developmental psychology, also known as human development, is the scientific study of systematic psychological changes, emotional changes, and perception changes that occur in human beings over the course of their life span. Originally concerned with infants and children, the field has expanded to...

 characterized by the following (non-comprehensive) list of assumptions:
  1. Atypical development and typical development are mutually informative. Therefore, developmental psychopathology is not the study of pathological development, but the study of the basic mechanisms that cause developmental pathways to diverge toward pathological or typical outcomes;
  2. Development leads to either adaptive or maladaptive outcomes. However, development that is adaptive in one context may be maladaptive in another context;
  3. Developmental change is influenced by many variables. Research designs in developmental psychopathology should incorporate multivariate designs to examine the mechanisms underlying development;
  4. Development occurs within nested contexts (see Urie Bronfenbrenner);
  5. This field requires that development arises from a dynamic interplay of physiological, genetic, social, cognitive, emotional, and cultural influences across time.

Development of Conduct Problems

One form of developmental pathology is conduct disorder. Conduct disorder grows progressively worse over time and behavior considered annoying as a child is considered pathological as the child gets older. The Oregon social learning group has done considerable research on the development of conduct disorder Patterson and colleagues take a functionalist view of conduct problems in line with a Behavior analysis of child development
Behavior analysis of child development
Child development in behavior analytic theory has origins in John B. Watson's behaviorism. Watson wrote extensively on child development and conducted research . Watson was instrumental in the modification of William James' stream of consciousness approach to construct a stream of behavior theory...

. They have found considerable evidence that the improper use of reinforcment in childhood can lead to this form of pathology

See also

  • Child psychopathology
    Child psychopathology
    Child psychopathology is the manifestation of psychological disorders in children and adolescents. Oppositional defiant disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder are examples of child psychopathology...

  • Psychopathology
    Psychopathology is the study of mental illness, mental distress, and abnormal/maladaptive behavior. The term is most commonly used within psychiatry where pathology refers to disease processes...

  • Child Development
    Child development
    Child development stages describe theoretical milestones of child development. Many stage models of development have been proposed, used as working concepts and in some cases asserted as nativist theories....

    for behavioral models of antisocial behavior
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