NCLT and Life Course Theory

  • Theodore Wasserman
  • Lori Drucker Wasserman


The NCLT model has a number of properties chief among them is the idea that multiple variables and life experiences interacted with a constitutionally provided core to produce an outcome that is sometimes adaptive and, as in the case of mental illness, sometimes not adaptive. In this regard it fit the Life Course Model of Disease which posits that there are differences in health patterns that result from broad social, economic, and environmental factors that underlie causes of persistent inequalities in health for a wide range of diseases and conditions across population groups. Both models support the idea that early experiences, as much as and perhaps to a greater extent than later experiences, facilitate the development of specific pathways and trajectories thereby significantly influencing an individual’s future health and development. NCLT extends the Life Course model to the treatment of mental illness conceptualized as emerging as a result of life course processes. Its focus is on the individual and how that individual adapts to the life course events that they interact with.


Life course disease model Critical periods Risk factors Protective factors Life course theory 


  1. Beck, A., & Bredemeier, K. (2016). A unified model of depression: Integrating clinical, cognitive, biological, and evolutionary perspectives. Clinical Psychological Science. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/2167702616628523.
  2. Bernfort, L., Nordfelt, S., & Perrsson, J. (2008). ADHD from a socio-economic perspective. Acta Paediatrica, 97(2), 239–245. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2007.00611.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Colman, J., & Ataullahjan, A. (2010). Life course perspectives on the epidemiology of depression. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 55(10), 622–632.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Elder, G. (1998). The life course as developmental theory. Child Development, 69(1), 1–12.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Elder, G., Gimbel, C., & Ivie, R. (1991). Turning points in life: The case of military service and war. Military Psychology, 3, 215–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Fine, A., & Kotelchuck, M. (2010, November). Rethinking MCH: The life course model as an organizing framework. Retrieved from
  7. Koenen, K., Rudenstine, D., Susser, E., & Galea, S. (2013). A life course approach to mental disorders. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Nandi, A., Beard, J., & Galea, S. (2009). Epidemiologic heterogeneity of common mood and anxiety disorders over the lifecourse in the general population: A systematic review. BMC Psychiatry, 9, 31. doi: 10.1186/1471-244X-9-31.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  9. Piaget, J., & Inhelder, B. (1972). The psychology of the child. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Pickles, A., & Rutter, M. (1991). Statistical and conceptual models of ‘turning points’ in developmental processes. In D. Magnusson, L. Bergman, G. Rudinger, & B. Torestad (Eds.), Problems and methods in longitudinal research: Stability and change (pp. 133–165). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Teruya, C., & Hser, Y. (2010). Turning points in the life course: Current findings and future directions in drug use research. Current Drug Abuse Review, 3(3), 189–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Wasserman, T., & Wasserman, L. (2016). Depathologizing psychopathology. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Wilens, T., & Spenser, T. (2010). Understanding attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder from childhood to adulthood. Postgraduate Medicine, 122(5), 97–109. doi: 10.3810/pgm.2010.09.2206.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  14. World Health Organization. (2004). Promoting mental health. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Theodore Wasserman
    • 1
  • Lori Drucker Wasserman
    • 1
  1. 1.Wasserman and Drucker PABoca RatonUSA

Personalised recommendations