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21-11-2014 | Substantive/Theoretical Review | Uitgave 5/2015

Child Psychiatry & Human Development 5/2015

A Review of the Direct and Interactive Effects of Life Stressors and Dispositional Traits on Youth Psychopathology

Child Psychiatry & Human Development > Uitgave 5/2015
Shauna C. Kushner
Belangrijke opmerkingen
Support for this research was provided by a studentship award from the Ontario Mental Health Foundation. I am grateful to Jennifer L. Tackett, R. Michael Bagby, and Amanda A. Uliaszek for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this work.


Stressors and dispositional traits have been implicated in youth psychopathology; however, the direct effects from stressors or traits alone may be insufficient for explaining maladaptive development. Evidence for the impact of stressors and dispositional traits has largely progressed within separate lines of inquiry, resulting in disunited etiological models and variable empirical support. Existing research on the concurrent effects of stressors and traits has also been hindered by several conceptual issues—including mixed evidence for specificity effects, inconsistent operationalization of stressors, and inadequate coverage of dispositional traits across development—making it difficult to draw conclusions across studies. The current review aims to unify these independent lines of inquiry by evaluating prior research according to three theoretical frameworks: (1) additive, (2) diathesis-stress, and (3) social push models. Implications for assessment, prevention, and intervention efforts in clinical child and adolescent psychopathology are discussed.

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