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Equifinality Versus Multifinality

Equifinality and multifinality are terms that describe developmental pathways. Both constructs allude to the many forces that shape behavior and underscore the probabilistic and complex nature of development. The terms can describe a future developmental trajectory or prior pathways of development. For describing future development, equifinality can be seen as a number of initial, different pathways that lead to the same outcome. In contrast, multifinality refers to a process where a similar start state (e.g., levels of a behavior, type of attachment, presence of a mental illness) results in multiple pathways that lead to different outcomes. For describing prior pathways to an observed state, equifinality means that a given observed state may be the result of varying past experiences, whereas multifinality means that differences in ...

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