Thomas M. Achenbach
University of Vermont
Unlike most of the topics addressed in this book, the developmental study of psychopathology is not an established subspeciality of developmental psychology. Rather, it is a vast no-man's land, explored by emissaries from a variety of disciplines but not firmly dominated by any. This chapter, therefore, deals with developmental issues from diverse perspectives.
For those who are attracted by the challenge of shaping new paradigms, this is an exciting period when a few committed researchers can have a major impact on how troubled children are helped. Yet, it will require patience and a tolerance of ambiguity to fashion the disparate pieces into a coherent whole. It will also demand a readiness to span academic developmental psychology, the study of psychopathology, and clinical applications.
The history of developmental psychopathology per se is too brief to warrant being treated separately as "history." Instead, as we sift through the raw materials of a developmental psychopathology, we will allude to the historical development of the relevant ideas where necessary. Early views of adult psychopathology, however, form a prehistory out of which the elements of a developmental psychopathology have evolved. A brief examination of this prehistory