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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Mental disorders involving antisocial behavior, disinhibition, and antagonism tend to occur in the same persons, along with related personality traits. These observations can be modeled by positing a coherent externalizing spectrum of personality and psychopathology. In this essay, the authors describe evidence for the externalizing spectrum, encompassing phenomena such as the continuity of externalizing tendencies, genetic coherence of the spectrum, and connections between the spectrum and the broader hierarchical structure of personality and psychopathology. They emphasize the importance of interweaving neuroscience and developmental perspectives with research on clinical externalizing phenomena. A developmentally informed perspective on the externalizing spectrum and its connections with neuroscience and clinical phenomena represents a promising approach for ongoing research, particularly research connected with the National Institute of Mental Health Research Domain Criteria initiative.

Keywords: dimensions, RDoC, DSM, classification, nosology development, neuroscience, externalizing

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