Psychological and Biological Approaches to Emotion

By Nancy L. Stein; Bennett Leventhal et al. | Go to book overview

15
Emotion and Developmental Psychopathology

Dante Cicchetti University of Rochester and Director, Mt. Hope Family Center

Jennifer White University of Wisconsin

The study of emotional phenomena has important implications for understanding the development and organization of the processes underlying abnormal ontogenesis. Theoreticians and researchers, trained in a variety of disciplines, have stressed the role that emotions play in the etiology and sequelae of many forms of child and adult psychopathology, including autism ( Hobson, 1986; Kanner, 1943), the affective disorders ( Beck, 1967; Becker, 1977; Cicchetti & Schneider- Rosen , 1986), and schizophrenia ( Arieti, 1955/ 1974; Bleuler, 1911/ 1950). Most psychopathological disorders may be characterized either in terms of the intensity and/or the type of affects displayed; moreover, these disorders may be of an expressive and/or of a recognitory nature ( Cicchetti & Schneider-Rosen, 1984; Cicchetti & Sroufe, 1978; Hesse & Cicchetti, 1982; Hobson, 1986).

In this chapter, we focus on how the emotions, either alone or in interaction with other ontogenetic domains, play a role in the formation, course, and consequences of developmental psychopathology. We first provide an historical overview of the way in which emotion and emotion-cognition relations have been viewed in mental illness. Next, we examine the nature of the interrelations among the cognitive, emotional, and linguistic domains in several groups of atypical populations. A variety of levels of data drawn from multiple contexts (e.g., the psychiatric clinic, the home, the laboratory), multidomains, and multidisciplines, are presented to illustrate the organization/disorganization of emotional and cognitive/linguistic development in atypical and "high-risk" populations. Illustrations are gathered from studies of three infant and child populations: infants and toddlers with Down syndrome, maltreated infants and children, and the offspring of parents with a manic-depressive disorder.

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