Carolina Consortium on Human Development

Spring 2019

TITLE:  Transdiagnostic Developmental Mechanisms Underlying Adolescent Psychopathology

Co-sponsored by the Clinical Psychology Program and Diversity Committee of the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at UNC-CH

Committee Members: Andrea Hussong (Chair), Enrique Neblett, Mitch Prinstein, Cathi Propper, Eric Youngstrom, Margaret Sheridan, Leah Richmond-Rakerd

Consortium Theme: The use of systems theories to understand problems of child development, both “normal and abnormal”, gave rise to the related paradigms as Developmental Science and Developmental Psychopathology that came into prominence in the 1980s. Developmental Psychopathology, in particular, has proven to be a fruitful perspective for understanding etiological mechanisms contributing to the development of maladaptive, symptom, and diagnostic outcomes in adolescents. Yet key stakeholders in conducting and translating research on adolescent psychopathology (e.g., epidemiologists, etiologists, treatment outcome researchers, prevention scientists, policy makers, and a broad array of service providers) continue to display a disconnect in linking developmental models for understanding with those for treating these outcomes. This disconnect includes, for example, understanding, capturing, and tracking what constitutes psychopathology over the course of development; positing and testing complex multi-system theories that balance rather than privilege one level of analysis over another; integrating etiological, process, and treatment models to hasten translation; and incorporating meaningful elements of culture and experiences of societal marginalization. Recent shifts in conceptualizing psychopathology (e.g., the RDOC movement, neurobiological models focused on endophenotypes, transdiagnostic models) are rarely conceived within a developmental or socio-cultural framework, further entrenching this disconnect. Dominant treatment paradigms may emphasize the here-and-now and fail to recognize the value of developmental pathways in advancing treatment protocols; whereas developmental research may focus on poorly defined mechanisms with little translational value. This CCHD seminar series seeks to address such disconnects with a focus on emerging transdiagnostic developmental mechanisms for understanding and treating psychopathology in adolescence.

Guiding Questions:

1. How does a developmental psychopathology framework inform the study of adolescent problem outcomes? How can we best leverage developmental models for understanding, capturing, and tracking what constitutes psychopathology over the course of development?

2. What are emerging developmental mechanisms that leverage a systems-based understanding of psychopathology in adolescence? How do we balance and integrate understanding systematic mechanisms offered from various fields in service of testing theory?

3. What frameworks underlie current research for conceptually and understanding developmental psychopathology? What value do transdiagnostic frameworks offer?

4. What aspects of basic and applied research studies enhance their translational value? How do treatment researchers use basic and applied research in their work? How do basic and applied researchers use treatment and intervention research in their work?

5. What are novel methods for conducting research in this domain? What tools are we lacking? How do we do this work better?

6. What are the most salient future directions for this research? How do we bridge research and the evolving practice worlds moving forward?