A developmental psychopathology perspective on personality disorder: Introduction to the special issue

Jennifer L. Tackett*, Carla Sharp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Personality disorders (PDs)—disrupted or maladaptive patterns of characteristic emotions, cognitions, and behaviors, often marked by impairment in identity or interpersonal relationships—are not uniquely adult disorders, but constitute psychopathology that often emerges early in life. It is no longer necessary to make this statement tentatively or with great disclaimers, as researchers have converged on evidence for the manifestation of personality pathology in childhood and adolescence, the validity and reliability of early PD measurement, the stability of these constructs across development, and the predictive validity of these problems in youth for negative consequences across multiple domains (Cicchetti & Crick, 2009; Tackett, Balsis, Krueger, & Oltmanns, 2009). Indeed, parallel consensus has emerged among developmental researchers, who are paying increasing attention to personality traits early in life and their role in psychopathology emergence (Shiner, 2009). Greater synthesis between developmental researchers and PD researchers is quite natural, with the discipline of developmental psychopathology offering a particularly rich theoretical and conceptual framework for deepening our understanding of PD development (Cicchetti &c Toth, 2009). The goal of the present issue of the Journal of Personality Disorders is to leverage key concepts and principles from the developmental psychopathology approach to elucidate the nature and course of PDs across the lifespan.

The developmental psychopathology framework has proven a useful tool for better understanding multiple domains of psychopathology and holds great promise for the domain of PD. We argue that several principles of this framework are particularly well suited to a better understanding of PD emergence and development, however, and that better integration of developmental psychopathology principles will yield enormous benefits for PD researchers. Specifically, although a comprehensive developmental psychopathology framework is much broader than the points we highlight here, we used three key principles to guide the creation and organization of this.

From University of Houston.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-6
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Personality Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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