Psychological needs and developmental psychology provide a framework for identifying and understanding the needs of children and adolescents.
The two terms are related, and understanding these concepts can help foster a better understanding of how and why children develop specific mental and physical problems, according to a new paper by a team of researchers at the University of Exeter, the University College London, and the University Hospitals of Leicester.
“We have now developed a new set of conceptual models that describe children’s developmental and psychosocial needs and then use them to identify and address the challenges of developmental psychology,” says lead author Dr Rebecca Dore, from the School of Psychology at the university.
The paper, which appears in Psychological Needs and Developmental Psychology, aims to answer the question: how do children develop mental and/or physical health problems, particularly in adolescence?
“One of the big challenges in developing a more holistic understanding of development is the need for a common, unified approach for identifying the developmental and psychological needs of young people and understanding their specific health needs,” says co-author Dr Matthew Hamer, from University College Dublin.
“Understanding the developmental processes that lead to specific mental or physical health issues is vital for any policy or approach to be effective.”
The paper builds on a number of previous studies that have looked at how children develop psychological and social needs, and how they are managed.
“Our new research uses a conceptual model that is different from existing research, and allows us to identify which areas need to be addressed to meet the needs for developmental psychology, such as the needs to self-regulate and regulate emotions, and to develop resilience to adversity,” says Professor Robert Macdonald, from The University of Queensland, who was not involved in the research.
“What’s striking about this research is that it is consistent with previous work, and it has been used by the WHO to identify areas of particular importance for developing interventions for developmental disorders, such mental health, and resilience.”
In addition to identifying the specific health and developmental needs of a child, the research focuses on understanding the processes by which children develop in the course of development.
This allows the researchers to draw lessons from the research that have been done to develop new interventions.
For example, they point out that children may have developed their own developmental psychology or social development theories, and that this may be the reason why they may not respond to particular types of psychosomatic treatment, for example, physical therapy.
“It’s very possible that one of the key features of development in early life may be an internalised theory of development, but we’re not quite sure yet,” says Dr Dore.
“So, we need to work out the specific processes that can lead to the development of a developmental psychology theory, but also to understand how the theory might be applied to other types of mental and emotional health problems.”
“It also gives us a way to build on the work that’s already been done in developmental psychology to understand the development processes that drive mental health problems,” says Hamer.
“And this is where the work from developmental psychologists is really interesting, because we don’t know what causes mental health disorders in early childhood.
We know that the development process is very complex and very difficult, but that we don.
The research was carried out in collaboration with Dr Ewa Dokor from the University’s Centre for Child Development. “
These studies are really interesting and very powerful tools that allow us to understand these processes more fully, and develop interventions that can help children and young people.”
The research was carried out in collaboration with Dr Ewa Dokor from the University’s Centre for Child Development.
It was funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme and the Centre for Research Excellence (CREDES).
More information: Psychosocial Needs and Developing Psychopathology (2017).