Clinical adolescent psychology: what it is, and what it needs to be

J Consult Clin Psychol. 2002 Feb;70(1):124-8. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.70.1.124.


This commentary on the special section on clinical adolescent psychology (G. Holmbeck & P. Kendall. 2002) reviews and critiques the conceptual and empirical articles that this compilation comprises. As articulated in the conceptual contributions to this collection, two fundamental principles should guide research on the etiology, prevention, and treatment of psychological disorder and dysfunction during adolescence: First, drawing on the fiel of developmental psychopathology, the study of clinical adolescent psychology should focus on the trajectories of disorder that precede, characterize, and follow adolescence. Second, drawing on the literature on normative adolescent development, the study of clinical adolescent psychology must proceed with an explicit recognition of the unique biological, cognitive, psychosocial, and contextual features that define adolescence as a developmental period. The empirical contributions to this compilation are evaluated with respect to the extent to which they reflect these tenets. Although the study of clinical adolescent psychology, as evidenced by this collection of articles, is appropriately grounded in the broader enterprise of developmental psychopathology, less progress has been made with respect to the integration of the study of clinical phenomena in adolescence with the study of normative adolescent development.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology
  • Humans
  • Psychology, Adolescent / standards*
  • Psychology, Clinical / standards*