Adolescence or Childhood Psychological Disorders.

Thirteen (2003) is a great movie to reflect the knowledge in human development and developmental psychology for the adolescent period. Thirteen-year-old Tracy throws away her “good girl” image for sex, drugs, and petty crime in reaction to her parents’ divorce in Thirteen, a disturbing movie about adolescence and adolescents (Oltmanns & Emery, 2012).  Tracy used to be a smart straight-A student; but when she befriends Evie, the most popular and beautiful girl in school, Evie leads Tracy down a path of sex, drugs and petty crime (like stealing money from purses and from stores).

By watching the movie we would think, what had caused the change of Tracy’s behavior, was it the family conflicts, or influence by bad friends?  Was Tracy just going through a tough period of development, or it showed abnormal mental state?  According to Oltmanns and Emery (2012), we must view abnormal behavior within the context of normal development at every age. However, this developmental psychopathology approach is absolutely essential to psychological disorders of childhood, because children change rapidly during the first 20 or so years of life. “Psychologists become concerned only when a child’s behavior deviates substantially from developmental norms, behavior that is typical for children of a given age” (Oltmanns & Emery, 2012, p. 421).


Oltmanns, T. F. & Emery, R. E. (2012). Abnormal psychology (7th ed.).  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

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