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date: 14 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter describes an ontogenic process model that characterizes the progression of externalizing spectrum disorders and views comorbidities and continuities as a result of complex longitudinal transactions between interdependent individual-level vulnerabilities (e.g., genetic, epigenetic, neural, allostatic) and equally interdependent contextual risk factors such as coercive parenting and neighborhood criminality. It also examines the importance of taking into account the developmental psychopathology perspective in order to understand comorbidities, continuities, and discontinuities in externalizing behavior across the lifespan. More specifically, it discusses mechanisms that underlie homotypic comorbidity among externalizing syndromes, along with the latent structure of externalizing psychopathology and the role of mesolimbic dopamine dysfunction in the pathophysiology of externalizing behaviors. Finally, the chapter explores trait impulsivity as a predisposing vulnerability to all externalizing spectrum disorders, how operant reinforcement worsens externalizing behavior, and the role of mood, emotion, and behavior dysregulation in the etiology of externalizing behavior.

Keywords: ontogenic process, externalizing spectrum disorders, comorbidities, risk factors, psychopathology, dopamine, trait impulsivity, operant reinforcement, mood, emotion

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