Toward an externalizing spectrum in DSM-V: Incorporating developmental concerns

Jennifer L. Tackett*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Progress and innovation in DSM-V include the proposal of a new structural organization of disorders that stands to bring childhood and adult disorders together. Specifically, many common disorders would be grouped under broader dimensions of internalizing and externalizing problems. Although this distinction originated in childhood psychopathology research, current work has drawn heavily from studies with adults. The integration of common childhood disorders into the current approach remains an important task. This article reviews evidence for a structural model of externalizing pathology with a focus on research with younger populations and highlights both commonalities and distinctions that exist between externalizing dimensions in children and the externalizing spectrum in adults. The article also summarizes 3 areas that pose key questions for delineating an externalizing spectrum that better reflects developmental concerns: the incorporation of childhood disorders, the integration of temperament and personality traits, and better accounting for relevant developmental issues, including person-environment interaction, critical developmental periods, and differentiating normal and abnormal behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-167
Number of pages7
JournalChild Development Perspectives
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010


  • Aggression
  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • DSM-V
  • Developmental psychopathology
  • Externalizing behaviors
  • Relational aggression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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