Important Dates

  • September 30, 2014: proposed submission abstract deadline
  • January 31, 2015: full submission deadline

Special Issue Editors

  • Guest Editor: Theodore P. Beauchaine
  • Co-Editor: Sherryl H. Goodman

Submission Details

Please email an abstract (200 words or fewer) of a proposed submission by September 30, 2014.

Full submissions will be due January 31, 2015. Do not send a completed manuscript without approval of the abstract.

All submissions for the special section will go through the normal peer-review process, with no guarantee of acceptance.

All submissions must comply with APA policies, including certification of compliance with APA ethical principles for research, the prohibition of multiple submissions and duplicate publication, authors' obligation to retain raw data, and other requirements for submission to the Journal of Abnormal Psychology as noted on the Instructions to Authors.

Theme of Special Issue

Traditionally, two approaches to characterizing psychopathology have dominated the research literature.

The static approach, represented in the DSM-5, classifies disorders syndromally, with little attention to familial, social, or broader cultural risk mediators. This approach is often founded in biological reductionism, with particular syndromes assumed to arise from specific genetic and/or neural dysfunctions.

In contrast, the environmental risk approach emphasizes exposure to adversity, often with little attention to neurobiology.

In the past decade, more integrative Biological Vulnerability x Environmental Risk interaction models of psychopathology have gained traction in the literature (e.g., Beauchaine & McNulty, 2013). 

These follow from recognition that 

  • biological vulnerability × environmental risk interactions often account for more variance in psychopathological outcomes than main effects (e.g., Caspi et al., 2002), 
  • heritabilities of almost all psychopathological traits rise across development in concert with complex gene x environment interactions and correlations (e.g., Bergen, Gardner, & Kendler, 2007), and
  • even for highly heritable disorders such as schizophrenia, early intervention can delay or prevent onset of psychiatric morbidity (e.g., Szöke, Kirkbride, & Schürhoff, 2014).

For these reasons and others, studying biological vulnerabilities or environmental risk factors in isolation is likely to be misleading.

For this Special Section of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, we seek papers in which diverse forms of psychopathology are characterized or evaluated as ontogenic processes — products of complex developmental transactions between genetic/neurobiological vulnerabilities and environmental risk factors across time.

Papers that consider how distinct neurobiological systems will be assigned highest priority, including but not limited to those implicated in

  • trait impulsivity,
  • trait anxiety,
  • anhedonia,
  • self-regulation,
  • and emotion regulation,
  • interact with one another and with contextual influences, will be assigned highest priority.

Empirical papers should integrate genetic, central, and/or peripheral measures of biological vulnerability (e.g., genetic polymorphisms, autonomic psychophysiology, EEG, fMRI, hormonal assays) with measures of environmental and contextual risk (e.g., self-/informant-reported adversity, poverty, microanalytic behavioral coding of family dynamics) in predicting development of psychopathology.

Longitudinal studies will be prioritized. 

Theoretical papers should make novel contributions to our understanding of Biological Vulnerability x Environmental Risk interactions in the emergence and expression of major forms of mental illness.


Beauchaine, T. P., & McNulty, T. (2013). Comorbidities and continuities as ontogenic processes: Toward developmental spectrum model of externalizing behavior. Development and Psychopathology, 25, 1505-1528.

Bergen, S. E., Gardner, C. O., & Kendler, K. S. (2007). Age-related changes in heritability of behavioral phenotypes over adolescence and young adulthood: A meta-analysis. Twin Research and Human Genetics, 10, 423-433.

Caspi, A., McClay, J., Moffitt, T. E., Mill, J., Martin, J., Craig, I. W., Poulton, R. (2002). Role of genotype in the cycle of violence in maltreated children. Science, 297, 851-854.

Szöke, A., Kirkbride, J. B., & Schürhoff, F. (2014). Universal prevention of schizophrenia and surrogate endpoints at population level. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 1-5.

Other Calls for Papers

Calls for Papers

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