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Title: The need for a behavioural science focus in research on mental health and mental disorders
Authors: Wittchen, Hans-Ulrich ×
Knappe, Susanne
Andersson, Gerhard
Araya, Ricardo
Banos Rivera, Rosa M.
Barkham, Michael
Bech, Per
Beckers, Tom
Berger, Thomas
Berking, Matthias
Berrocal, Carmen
Botella, Christina
Carlbring, Per
Chouinard, Guy
Colom, Francesc
Csillag, Claudio
Cujipers, Pim
David, Daniel
Emmelkamp, Paul M. G.
Essau, Cecilia A.
Fava, Giovanni A.
Goschke, Thomas #
Hermans, Dirk
Hofmann, Stefan G.
Lutz, Wolfgang
Muris, Peter
Ollendick, Thomas H.
Raes, Filip
Rief, Winfried
Riper, Heleen
Tossani, Eliana
Van der Oord, Saskia #
Vervliet, Bram
Haro, Josep M.
Schumann, Gunter #
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Wiley
Series Title: International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research vol:23 pages:28-40
Abstract: Psychology as a science offers an enormous diversity of theories, principles, and methodological approaches to understand mental health, abnormal functions and behaviours and mental disorders. A selected overview of the scope, current topics as well as strength and gaps in Psychological Science may help to depict the advances needed to inform future research agendas specifically on mental health and mental disorders. From an integrative psychological perspective, most maladaptive health behaviours and mental disorders can be conceptualized as the result of developmental dysfunctions of psychological functions and processes as well as neurobiological and genetic processes that interact with the environment. The paper presents and discusses an integrative translational model, linking basic and experimental research with clinical research as well as population-based prospective-longitudinal studies. This model provides a conceptual framework to identify how individual vulnerabilities interact with environment over time, and promote critical behaviours that might act as proximal risk factors for ill-health and mental disorders. Within the models framework, such improved knowledge is also expected to better delineate targeted preventive and therapeutic interventions that prevent further escalation in early stages before the full disorder and further complications thereof develop. In contrast to conventional “personalized medicine” that typically targets individual (genetic) variation of patients who already have developed a disease to improve medical treatment, the proposed framework model, linked to a concerted funding programme of the “Science of Behaviour Change”, carries the promise of improved diagnosis, treatment and prevention of health-risk behaviour constellations as well as mental disorders.
Description: This article was generated as part of the activities of a group of leading European experts on psychological research and intervention, in order to provide an assessment of the state-of-the-art of research in different domains, identifying major advances and promising methods and pointing out gaps and problems which ought to be addressed in future research. A similar critical appraisal with partly similar conclusions is concurrently provided elsewhere (Schumann et al., 2013) by the ROAMER work group “Biomedical research” (ROAMER, 2013). Experts in both work groups have been selected for their academic excellence and for their competence in the different units of analysis needed to comprehensively characterize particular symptom domains. Their contributions do not aim to be systematic reviews of the field but rather provide a well-informed opinion of the authors involved. They also do not represent official statements of the ROAMER consortium, but are meant to inform the discussion on psychological research and intervention in mental disorders among interested stakeholders, including researchers, clinicians and funding bodies. Recommendations made in this supplement will undergo a discussion and selection process within the ROAMER consortium, and contribute to a final roadmap, which integrates all aspects of mental health research. We thus hope to provide an informed and comprehensive overview of the current state of psychological research in mental health, as well as the challenges and advances ahead of us.
ISSN: 1049-8931
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Centre for Psychology of Learning and Experimental Psychopathology
Clinical Psychology
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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