Editorial: The shape of the nosology to come in developmental psychopathology

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Abstract

The field has embarked on an effort to better integrate neurobiological and psychological dimensions of functioning with putative psychopathological syndromes. If successful, this effort aims to be a turning point as impactful as the change, a century ago, away from the study of symptom dimensions and toward the study of psychopathological syndromes. New statistical and neurobiological methods and findings hold considerable promise in this regard, and several papers in the present issue underscore these ongoing and important new directions. For this proposed direction to succeed, however, three guiding principles are necessary. First, the syndromal approach must continue to be viewed as provisional, and not reified. Second, in contrast, individual dimensions of neurobiology, psychology, personality, or symptoms should not be decontextualized but considered in relation to other traits and dimensions, syndromal configurations. Major clinical syndromes cannot be ignored. Third, following the Kraepelian insights of a century ago in addition to the more recent insights of developmental psychopathlogy, trait and dimension aspects of psychopathology need to be understood in their developmental context. Whether an integrated dimensional-categorical-developmental understanding of psychopathology can be extended to the entire nosology or only parts of it remains to be seen.

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