Collaborative Regulations of Vitality in Early Childhood: Stress in Intimate Relationships and Postnatal Psychopathology

Colwyn Trevarthen, Kenneth J. Aitken, Marie Vandekerckhove, Jonathan Delafield-Butt, Emese Nagy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

46 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter proposes that the infant's motives and emotions for a rich evolving experience in approving friendships are capable of generating chronic stress and psychopathology that blocks the path to pleasure in human company and the path to meaning. It considers how the vitality and vulnerability of a young person is adapted to become balanced in relationships and how the stresses and energy costs and the gains and opportunities of life are regulated in the active period of development. The chapter summarizes developmental changes in the embryo, observing the cooperative interdependency of cells during pattern formation of tissues and morphogenesis of organs in the body and brain. It follows the growing activity and awareness of the fetus in intimate vital contact with the mother's body, communicating with her in adaptive ways and observes the changing motives in attachments and companionship of infancy in the family, to the beginning of language.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDevelopmental Psychopathology
Subtitle of host publicationtheory and method
EditorsDante Cicchetti, Donald J. Cohen
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons Inc.
Number of pages62
ISBN (Electronic)9780470939390
ISBN (Print)047123737X, 9780471237372
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2015


  • Child development
  • Early childhood
  • Human environment
  • Intimate relationships
  • Postnatal psychopathology
  • Stress disorders
  • Vitality
  • Vulnerability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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