In: The Scientific Basis of Psychiatry 1992; 391-406
With thanks to Elsevier for their support for this project and for giving permission to reproduce this chapter.
Reprinted from The Scientific Basis of Psychiatry, M. Weller and M. Eysenck (eds.) , "Some biological, psychological and social factors in development", M. Weller, T. Fundudis, I. Kolvin pp. 391-406, (W.B Saunders, 1992).
Development presupposes change and continuity. In effect, however, it can also be discontinuous, as in the development of the embryo, there are certain postnatal periods when development is particularly sensitive to outside influences. The human infant undergoes a long period of gestation, but emerges vulnerable and incomplete. Thus the potential for developmental disturbance is greatest in infancy. Although adaptation implies corrective forces, recent neurological findings indicate that, ironically, some adaptations can themselves cause problems.