Evolving science in adolescence: comment on Ellis et al. (2012).
Ellis et al. (2012) bring an evolutionary perspective to bear on adolescent risky behavioral development, clinical practice, and public policy. The authors offer important insights that (a) some risky behaviors may be adaptive for the individual and the species by being hard-wired due to fitness benefits and (b) interventions might be more successful if they move with, rather than against, the natural tendencies of an adolescent. Ellis and colleagues criticize the field of developmental psychopathology, but we see the 2 fields as complementary. Their position would be enhanced by integrating it with contemporary perspectives on dynamic cascades through which normative behavior turns into genuinely maladaptive outcomes, dual processes in adolescent neural development, and adolescent decision making. Finally, they rightly note that innovation is needed in interventions and policies toward adolescent problem behavior.
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