Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 43, Issue 5, pp 875–883 | Cite as

Multi-Level Models of Internalizing Disorders and Translational Developmental Science: Seeking Etiological Insights that can Inform Early Intervention Strategies



This commentary discusses the articles in this special section with an emphasis on the specific utility of multivariate, multi-level models in developmental psychopathology for ultimately contributing to both etiologic insights and translational advances. These issues are considered not only in terms of the specific papers, but also within a larger set of questions regarding the opportunities (and challenges) currently facing the field. We describe why we believe this an exciting time for integrative team-science approaches to tackle these challenges—a time that holds great promise for rapid advances in integrative developmental science that includes a biological level of mechanistic understanding. In order to facilitate this, we outline a range of approaches within both translational neuroscience and translational developmental science that can be used as frameworks for understanding how such research can provide etiologic insights regarding real-world targets at the level of social, behavioral, and affective processes that can be modified during key developmental windows of opportunity. We conclude that a “construct validity” framework, where biological data form a critical, but not privileged, component of key etiological mechanisms, combined with a developmental perspective on key period of sensitivity to intervention effects, is most likely to provide significant translational outcomes.


Developmental psychopathology Translational neuroscience Translational developmental science Multi-level models Internalizing disorders 



Both authors contributed equally to the writing of this commentary and are listed alphabetically. Correspondence should be sent to Ronald Dahl, Institute of Human Development, 1123 Tolman Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720. Email:

Conflict of Interest

Neither author declares any conflict of interest with respect to this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OregonEugeneUSA
  2. 2.University of California, BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

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