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Psychopathology in Children

Psychopathology in children can be defined as behaviors, emotions, and thoughts that are maladaptively deviant. Maladaptive deviance includes aspects of functioning that deviate markedly from norms for a child's developmental level, that may impair developmental advances and acquisition of adaptive skills, and/or that may be harmful to the child or others.

The DSM-IV Approach

Child psychopathology is currently viewed from a variety of perspectives. One important perspective is embodied in the American Psychiatric Association's (1994) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), which defines child psychopathology in terms of categories of disorders. For example, the DSM-IV defines attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), predominantly inattentive type, by nine symptom criteria such as “often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities” and “is often forgetful in ...

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