Published online Sep 22, 2017. doi: 10.5498/wjp.v7.i3.159
Peer-review started: January 18, 2017
First decision: March 27, 2017
Revised: March 31, 2017
Accepted: April 23, 2017
Article in press: April 25, 2017
Published online: September 22, 2017
Developmental psychopathology (DP), broadly defined as the scientific discipline that has as its primary goal the integration of developmental science and psychopathology into a coherent approach to explanatory models for psychopathological development, has become the dominant approach in the past decade for understanding the origins of mental disorders among children and adolescents. Hence, it is incumbent upon those working in the field of clinical pediatrics to have at least a basic understanding of its core principles of DP. This article provided such an understanding (i.e., a primer) in an exposition of the four principles that are generally considered be core elements of with examples illustrative of each of the principles.
Core tip: Developmental psychopathology is an expansive approach to understanding the processes and pathways to normal and abnormal development. The minireview articulated the four central principles upon which approach is based. Perhaps the most important tip which these principles point to is an expansion on the notion of developmental cascades as a way of advancing the sophistication and comprehensiveness of the understanding of developmental pathways. Namely the notion of developmental cascades proposes that early appearing problems can have effects that spread across multiple levels of functioning in a multiplicity of ways over time and thus provides a promising direction for the constructing developmental models for pathways of cascading effects.