Rochester Symposium on Developmental Psychopathology, Volume 3: Models & Integrations // Review

Article excerpt

In little more than a decade the discipline of developmental psychopathology has experienced precipitous growth and acceptance. Although the general tenets of developmental psychopathology have existed for some time (Achenbach, 1974; Rutter & Garmezy, 1983), the spark that ignited this discipline was a special issue of Child Development that appeared in 1984 (Cicchetti, 1984). The maturation of the discipline has been fueled by the initiation in 1987 of the annual "Rochester Symposium on Developmental Psychopathology" and by the establishment of the journal Development and Psychopathology in 1989. The energetic professional, editorial, theoretical, and empirical efforts of Dante Cicchetti have been a driving force in shaping and promoting the discipline. In this context, Cicchetti and Toth's Models and Integrations is the third of five volumes issuing from the annual "Rochester Symposium on Developmental Psychopathology," a series of publications which has served to define the discipline. Earlier and later volumes in this series have addressed emergent issues in developmental psychopathology, internalizing and externalizing disorders, childhood depression, and the development of the self (Cicchetti, 1989, Cicchetti & Toth, 1991, 1992, 1993). The current volume plays a pivotal role in the evolution of developmental psychopathology because it raises important theoretical questions about the discipline, not the least of which are what is it and what might it be? In challenging the conceptual strength and clarity of the field, the book addresses salient developmental issues that will need to be resolved if the discipline is to advance.

Developmental psychopathology is concerned with the application of developmental principles to the study of high risk and deviant populations, the understanding of the origins and subsequent pathways for individual patterns of maladaptive behaviours, and the application of this knowledge to the treatment and prevention of maladaptive behaviour. It is the editors' contention that the conceptual and methodological complexities associated with these tasks require that integrations occur across orientations, theories, developmental processes, techniques, and disciplines. As the editors state in their preface to this volume: it is the integration of knowledge from diverse areas and an exploration of how this knowledge interfaces with, and can be integrated into a developmental perspective that provides much of the richness which developmental psychopathology has to offer." (p. x)

The need for integration constitutes the central theme of this volume, and a variety of viewpoints and perspectives are presented concerning how this integration might be achieved.

This is a thought - provoking and intellectually challenging book. It contains 11 weighty chapters organized into three relatively distinct but overlapping sections: (1) theoretical issues, (2) models for understanding specific forms of child psychopathology, and (3) developmentally - grounded intervention strategies. Each chapter in this book demonstrates an extraordinarily high level of theoretical and methodological sophistication. The contributors to this volume are leaders in their fields, and represent a wide range of disciplines that include developmental psychology, behavioural genetics, child psychopathology, child psychiatry, developmental epidemiology, behavioural neuroscience, and clinical child psychology.

The first section of the book is concerned with the theoretical models and conceptual underpinnings of developmental psychopathology and includes chapters by Overton and Horowitz, Achenbach, Angold and Costello, Loeber, and Pennington and Ozonoff. The diversity of perspectives that are included in this section makes for stimulating reading, especially when persuasive arguments are presented for contrasting epistemologies and theoretical approaches. For example, Overton and Horowitz provide a rich account of the ways in which the organic metaphor has served as the basis for crafting metatheoretical principles and research strategies in developmental psychopathology. …