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Internalizing and Externalizing Problems

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Encyclopedia of Adolescence


This essay delineates the main characteristics of internalizing and externalizing problems. Internalizing problems are described as inner-directed and generating distress in the individual, while externalizing problems are described as outer-directed and generating discomfort and conflict in the surrounding environment. Also examined are the influences of developmental changes as well as gender and cross-cultural differences on these dimensions during adolescence. Finally, these dimensions are related to personality traits and coping strategies, in this regard common and specific relations are pointed out.

Characterization of Internalizing and Externalizing Problems

Adolescent maladjustment has been frequently dichotomized into two syndromes referred to as internalizing and externalizing problems. In the 1960s, Achenbach and colleagues, a paradigmatic research group on adolescence psychopathology, proposed an original taxonomy, empirically derived, of childhood and adolescent...

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Correspondence to Maria Forns .

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Forns, M., Abad, J., Kirchner, T. (2011). Internalizing and Externalizing Problems. In: Levesque, R.J.R. (eds) Encyclopedia of Adolescence. Springer, New York, NY.

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, New York, NY

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-4419-1694-5

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-4419-1695-2

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