4 years ago

Conduct problems in youth and the RDoC approach: A developmental, evolutionary-based view

Problems related to aggression in young people are traditionally subsumed under the header of conduct problems, which include conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder. Such problems in children and adolescents are an important societal and mental health problem. In this paper we present an evolutionarily informed developmental psychopathology view of conduct problems inspired by the NIMH Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) initiative. We assume that while there are many pathways to conduct problems, chronic or temporary impairments in the domain of social cognition or mentalizing are a common denominator. Specifically, we conceptualize conduct problems as reflecting temporary or chronic difficulties with mentalizing, that is, the capacity to understand the self and others in terms of intentional mental states, leading to a failure to inhibit interpersonal violence through a process of perspective-taking and empathy. These difficulties, in turn, stem from impairments in making use of a normally evolutionarily protected social learning system that functions to facilitate intergenerational knowledge transmission and protect social collaborative processes from impulsive and aggressive action. Temperamental, biological, and social risk factors in different combinations may all contribute to this outcome. This adaptation then interacts with impairments in other domains of functioning, such as in negative and positive valence systems and cognitive systems. This view highlights the importance of a complex interplay among biological, psychological, and environmental factors in understanding the origins of conduct problems. We outline the implications of these views for future research and intervention.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0272735816300149

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