Childhood origins of psychopathology

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Discusses family interaction and genetic influences on the development of psychopathology in childhood. Mounting evidence suggests that genetic factors significantly influence most personality traits, most forms of psychopathology, and sex differences in the prevalence of psychopathology. The sex and temperamental characteristics of children affect parent-child interaction as does the strength of the allegiance pressures emanating from a mother and father locked in hostile conflict. Children who are opposite to the sex of the more powerful parent experience the greatest allegiance conflict and consequent psychopathology. Also moderating the pathogenic effects of parental conflict are consistency of parental love and the ruthlessness of efforts to win the child's allegiance. The practical implications of these views are discussed. (3l ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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