We use the term ‘youth’ throughout this review to refer to children and adolescents.
Stress and psychopathology in children and adolescents: is there evidence of specificity?
Article first published online: 13 DEC 2002
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Volume 44, Issue 1, pages 107–133, January 2003
How to Cite
McMahon, S. D., Grant, K. E., Compas, B. E., Thurm, A. E. and Ey, S. (2003), Stress and psychopathology in children and adolescents: is there evidence of specificity?. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 44: 107–133. doi: 10.1111/1469-7610.00105
Some of the studies fit into more than one category, so they are cross-referenced in Table 1.
- Issue published online: 13 DEC 2002
- Article first published online: 13 DEC 2002
- Manuscript accepted 28 June 2002
Research on the relations between specific stressors and specific psychological outcomes among children and adolescents is reviewed. Specificity, the notion that particular risk factors are uniquely related to particular outcomes is discussed from a theoretical perspective, and models of specificity are described. Several domains of stressors are examined from a specificity framework (e.g., exposure to violence, abuse, and divorce/marital conflict) in relation to broad-band outcomes of internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Studies that tested for specificity conducted within the past 15 years are examined, and definitional problems are highlighted. Little evidence for specificity was found. Methodological problems in the literature and the lack of theory-driven specificity research are discussed, and directions for future research are identified.