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Psychological Vulnerabilities of Young Children Study Notes

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I. Classification and Diagnosis of Childhood Disorders
II. Neurodevelopmental disorders
III. Disruptive, impulse control and conduct disorders
IV. Elimination disorders
Psychological Vulnerabilities of Young Children
- Young children are especially vulnerable to psychological problems
- They do not have as complex and realistic view of themselves and their world as they
will have later
- Immediate threats seem disproportionately more important
- Lack of experience makes manageable problems seem insurmountable
- They are more dependent on other people
Childhood and Adolescence
- Children of all cultures typically experience some emotional and behavioral problems
- Adolescence can also be a difficult period
- Bullying ranks as a major problem in the minds of most youngsters, often a bigger problem than
racism and peer pressure to try sex or alcohol
- At least one-fifth of all children and adolescents in North America also experience a diagnosable
psychological disorder
Overview
- Developmental psychopathology approach essential to disorders of childhood
- Children change rapidly during the first 18 years of life
- DSM-5 reorganized classification of childhood psychological problems
- Two long-established and widely recognized dimensions of psychological problems in children:
- Externalizing disorders - create difficulties in child’s external world
- Internalizing disorders
Classification and Diagnosis of Childhood Disorders
- Externalizing Disorders - disorders are characterized by children’s failure to control their
behavior according to the expectations of parents, peers, teachers, and/or legal authorities
- Noncompliance, aggressiveness, over-activity, impulsiveness
- Includes attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder, and oppositional
defiant disorder
- Internalizing disorders - psychological problems that primarily affect the child’s internal world
- Characterized by inward-focused behaviors
- Depression, anxiety, social withdrawal
- Includes childhood anxiety and mood disorders
- Developmental Psychology:
- Studies disorders within context of “typical” child development
- A field of psychology that studies how problems that first appear in childhood or
adolescence, are linked disorders that occur later in life
- Some disorders are unique to children
- Others may continue into adulthood
- Some disorders are present in children and adults
Classification and Diagnosis of Childhood Disorders (cont.)

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- DSM-5 split childhood and adolescent disorders into three chapters:
1. Neurodevelopmental Disorders - in the DSM, a category of disorders that affect
children and adolescents (developmental deficits); involve brain function deficits that
affect emotion, memory, ability to socialize, maintain self control, learn etc.
produce deficits that impair functioning in school, academic setting and social:
2. Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorder - problems with self control of
emotions and behaviors
3. Anxiety disorders - (not mentioned in this chapter)
- DSM-5 has new names for disorders:
- E.g. mental retardation will now be called→ intellectual disability
- Combined disorders→ autistic disorder, asperger's, etc. are Autism Spectrum
Disorder
Intellectual Disability
Intellectual Disability (ID) - a generalized delay or impairment in the development of intellectual and
adaptive abilities:
- Lack of basic conceptual, social, and practical skills of daily living
- Deficits in reasoning and problem solving abstract thinking, judgment, and school performance
- Follows a lifelong course but many improve over time if provided support and enriched
opportunities
Features and Causes of Intellectual Disability
- Low IQ score and impaired adaptive functioning before the age of 18
- Difficulties performing common tasks of daily life in three domains
- Contemporary IQ tests have a mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 15. The IQ cutoff for an
intellectual disability (70) is two standard deviations below the mean
What is Intellectual Disability?
- DSM-5 specifies four levels of intellectual disability which are set by levels of adaptive
functioning
- Mild intellectual disability→ 50-70
- Moderate intellectual disability→ 35-49
- Severe intellectual disability→ 20-34
- Profound intellectual disability→ below 20
Etiology of Intellectual Disabilities
- Causes include biological and psychosocial factors
- Biological - chromosomal and genetic disorders, infectious diseases, and maternal
alcohol use during pregnancy
- Psychosocial - exposure to an impoverished home environment
Down Syndrome and Other Chromosome Abnormalities
- Down syndrome - a condition caused by the presence of an extra chromosome on the 21st pair
of chromosomes and characterized by intellectual disability
- Most frequently identified cause of ID
- Occurs in about 1 in 800 births
- More likely as parents age

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I. II. III. IV. Classification and Diagnosis of Childhood Disorders Neurodevelopmental disorders Disruptive, impulse control and conduct disorders Elimination disorders Psychological Vulnerabilities of Young Children - Young children are especially vulnerable to psychological problems - They do not have as complex and realistic view of themselves and their world as they will have later - Immediate threats seem disproportionately more important - Lack of experience makes manageable problems seem insurmountable - They are more dependent on other people Childhood and Adolescence - Children of all cultures typically experience some emotional and behavioral problems - Adolescence can also be a difficult period - Bullying ranks as a major problem in the minds of most youngsters, often a bigger problem than racism and peer pressure to try sex or alcohol - At least one-fifth of all children and adolescents in North America also experience a diagnosable psychological disorder Overview - Developmental psychopathology approach essential to disorders of childhood - Children change rapidly during the first 18 years of life - DSM-5 reorganized classification of childhood psychological problems - Two long-established and widely recognized dimensions of psychological problems in children: - Externalizing disorders - create difficulties in child’s external world - Internalizing disorders Classification and Diagnosis of Childhood Disorders - Externalizing Disorders - disorders are characte ...
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