Child Psychology Research Paper

Length: 8 pages Sources: 8 Subject: Psychology Type: Research Paper Paper: #45022959 Related Topics: Educational Psychology, Cross Cultural Psychology, Humanistic Psychology, Operant Conditioning
Excerpt from Research Paper :

Child and Adolescent Psychology

Over the last several years, major advancements have taken place in child and adolescent psychology. This is occurring with mental health professionals trying to gain a better understanding about which issues are impacting individuals from these demographics. The main idea is to learn how the challenges they are facing early in life will influence their behavior. Once this happens, is when new ideas can address these issues and help the person grow into a responsible adult. To fully understand what is happening requires comparing different theories, describing child / adolescent psychology, formulating treatment plans, examining legal / ethical issues, existing research, analyzing and incorporating this information. Together, these elements will offer insights about which factors influence the mental health professionals and the way they interact with them. (Wolf, 2015)

Compare and contrast theories of normal and abnormal development

There are number of theories that are used in normal and abnormal development. The most notable include: operant conditioning, behavioral, cognitive and humanist approaches. Operant conditioning is important for many reasons. First, it recognizes how we are being taught through operant conditioning in order to make better decisions in the future. As a child, one of the first lessons we learn is never touch a hot stove. As we are told over and over again, that it will burn us. But for many, actually touching the hot surface reinforces these ideas through pain and pleasure. The outcome of touching it is a burn, which turns into a negative association. The child will remember the pain, which was experienced and will not repeat touching it. This is illustrating how every action, has an equal and opposite reaction. Operant conditioning is a critical factor in teaching someone what is acceptable through real world experiences. Whether it is negative or positive, we will learn from them in order to gain a greater understanding about our environment. These insights are important, as they teach everybody to grow and become smarter through the lesson they learn. This is when they can deal with a variety of challenges more effectively and gain better insights as a person. In many ways, one could argue that this is what helps someone the most, through appealing to their survival instincts. (Poston, 2009) (Wolf, 2015)

Under Pavlov's classical conditioning, this will instill a sense of automatically learning about which actions will result in the greatest rewards. This is when children and adolescents are motivated to do more, in order to receive even greater benefits in the future (via the behavioral approach). This is takes place after the positive and negative experiences will shape someone's actions. The key is conditioning them to automatically have favorable perceptions. Over the course of time, these views will enhance their thoughts and the way they deal with the world around them. (Poston, 2009) (Wolf, 2015)

At the same time, it is using Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs to connect with the individual. This is occurring through building up their self-esteem and gradually pushing them towards higher amounts of self-actualization. In this case, there is a focus on establishing greater forms of motivation by giving them specific rewards they will receive. This is when they are changing their attitudes and embracing more confidence about themselves and their abilities in the process. (Poston, 2009) (Wolf, 2015)

Behavioral conditioning is when mental health professionals are changing the actions of the child / adolescent by giving them positive and negative rewards. According to Merritt (1993), this kind of training reduces negative reactions through offering the individual something to reach for. This will lead to a shift in attitudes and it enables them to embrace specific beliefs. (Wolf, 2015)

Moreover, it is changing the person's thinking by looking at the situation differently and having favorable perception using specific ideas. This helps them to build social skills by learning what it takes to be successful through a series of rewards and punishments. In the future, these abilities enable them to interact with someone who is in positions of authority. This creates a shift in their thinking and the capacity to meet key objectives. These concepts are similar to operant conditioning by demonstrating the long-term impact specific experiences are having on the individual. Once this happens, is when their behavior will be adjusted to reflect what is occurring. Yet, it is different by underscoring how the thoughts and interpretations of various events will impact their ability to adapt with new events. (Wolf, 2015)

The cognitive approach is looking at the interactions and how this influences the...


A good example of this can be seen with Bandura who said, "Learning would be exceedingly laborious, not to mention hazardous, if people had to rely solely on the effects of their own actions to inform them what to do. Fortunately, most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling: from observing others one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action." (Merritt, 1993) This theory is useful in child and adolescent psychology to understand the way a person's thoughts will impact their behavior and react to the world around them. These techniques are similar to operant conditioning and behaviorism. This occurs with both concentrating on the way the external stimuli will affect the person. However, they are different based upon the views about how this influences the person's thoughts. In these situations, the cognitive approach feels that the mindset of the individual and what they are telling themselves will influence their behavior. This is something the other theories do not concentrate on. Instead, they are concerned about how the experience will shape behavior vs. The thoughts and actions. (Wolf, 2015)

The humanistic approach, is concentrating on changing their beliefs with the educator becoming a mentor who allows these benefits to occur. This is giving them positive experiences when the individual understands and apply specific concepts. However, any kind of underperformance will result in them realizing negative stimuli. These shifts will lead to the person changing their perceptions and ideas. (Schaeffer, 2013)

From a humanistic perspective, the individual is gaining positive experiences that shape who they are. It is at this point, when they are able to adjust and evolve with critical challenges by using them as a foundation in the longer term. Evidence of this can be seen with Duchesne (2013) saying, "This describes a general orientation to life or a personal philosophy that recognizes the uniqueness of human beings and the qualities of life that contribute to our humanity, in art, literature, music and all aspects of daily living. It upholds the dignity of the human condition and, by extension, of the individual. Humanists believe that individuals have the potential to set goals, solve problems and achieve their own potential." (Duchesne, 2013) These insights are showing how the humanistic approach will help to enhance the individual's ability learn by linking new ideas together with their experiences. That is directly related to each other as the humanistic approach is building off of key ideas. It is different by taking the behavioral and cognitive views, to influence the experiences of the child or adolescent. In this case, the individual will have another way of looking at their lives and the world around them. (Wandberg, 2000) (Schaeffer, 2013)

Describe child and adolescent psychopathology

Child and adolescent psychopathology is examining how various disorders will impact the mental health of the individual (i.e. oppositional defiant, attention deficit and pervasive developmental disorder). This is accomplished with them working with the child to understand how these factors influence the way they react and the positive / negative impacts it is having on them. In many ways, the field is focused on emotional regulation. For instance, a study that was conducted by McLaughlin (2011) is concentrating on how these factors influence emotional deficits with her saying, "Emotion regulation deficits have been consistently linked to psychopathology in cross-sectional studies. However, the direction of the relationship between emotion regulation and psychopathology is unclear. Emotion dysregulation and symptomatology (depression, anxiety, aggressive behavior, and eating pathology) were assessed in a large, diverse sample of adolescents (N = 1065) at two time points separated by seven months. The three distinct emotion processes examined here (emotional understanding, dysregulated expression of sadness and anger, and ruminative responses to distress) formed a unitary latent emotion dysregulation factor. Emotion dysregulation predicted increases in anxiety symptoms, aggressive behavior, and eating pathology after controlling for baseline symptoms but did not predict depressive symptoms. In contrast, none of the four types of psychopathology predicted increases in emotion dysregulation after controlling for baseline emotion dysregulation. Emotion dysregulation appears to be an important transdiagnostic factor that increases risk for a wide range of psychopathology outcomes in adolescence. These results suggest targets for preventive interventions during this developmental period of risk." (McLaughlin, 2011) These insights are showing how child and adolescent psychopathology is examining the causes of various emotional and mental disorders. They have the ability to impact their capacity to…

Sources Used in Documents:


ACA Code of Ethics. (2014). Retrieved from:

Dan Pink: The Puzzle of Motivation. (2009). You Tube. Retrieved from:

Boykin, A. (2001). Nursing as Caring. Boston, MA: Jones and Bartlett.

Duchesne, S. (2013). Educational Psychology. Mason, OH: Southwestern.

Cite this Document:

"Child Psychology" (2015, February 14) Retrieved January 22, 2022, from

"Child Psychology" 14 February 2015. Web.22 January. 2022. <>

"Child Psychology", 14 February 2015, Accessed.22 January. 2022,

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