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Cultural influences on developmental processes and outcomes: Implications for the study of development and psychopathology

  • CYNTHIA GARCÍA COLL (a1), ANNA AKERMAN (a1) and DANTE CICCHETTI (a2)

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to trace the role of culture as an explanatory construct in developmental processes and outcomes, and its implications in the understanding of developmental psychopathology. Literature reviews were conducted by historical period: 1930–1939, 1960–1969, and 1990–1999. The percentage of the total articles and chapters pertaining to cultural issues increased as a function of time. Both conceptual and methodological continuities and discontinuities were observed among the three periods. The preponderance of comparative studies using deficit models still remains, but more enlightened alternative conceptual models, within culture studies, and measures of cultural processes, are emerging. In contrast, although contextual influences are considered important in developmental psychopathology, the field lags in its empirical consideration of cultural influences. The need to seriously address these issues will increase as globalization and rapid cultural change become even more the norm than the exception.

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Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Cynthia García Coll, Box 1938, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912.

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