Internalizing problems of childhood and adolescence: Prospects, pitfalls, and progress in understanding the development of anxiety and depression

Carolyn Zahn-Waxler, Bonnie Klimes-Dougan, Marcia J. Slattery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

426 Scopus citations

Abstract

The focus of this article is on internalizing problems that are experienced by children and adolescents. We provide an historical perspective, selectively examine the current state of knowledge, consider advances and gaps in what is known, and identify new research directions. Diagnosis, epidemiology, theory, and research first are considered separately for anxiety and depressive disorders. These internalizing problems, however, whether clinical or subclinical, share many common features and show high comorbidity rates. We emphasize the importance of systematic analysis of comorbid anxiety and depression, including their comorbidity with externalizing problems. This could lead to more valid classification of subtypes of internalizing problems and further an understanding of the diverse conditions that constitute internalized distress. We highlight the need to study anxiety and depression within a developmental psychopathology framework, as well as to include both categorical and dimensional assessments of these problems in the same research designs. This will be essential for understanding the complex interplay of biological and environmental processes that contribute to the emergence, progression, and amelioration of internalizing problems over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-466
Number of pages24
JournalDevelopment and psychopathology
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2000

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