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Differential susceptibility to the environment: an evolutionary—neurodevelopmental theory

Ellis, B. J., Boyce, W. T., Belsky, J., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., & van Ijzendoorn, M. H. (2011), Development and Psychopathology, 23(1), 7-28. Doi: 10.1017/S0954579410000611

In this conceptual paper Environmental Sensitivity is discussed from an evolutionary-developmental perspective and in relation to the frameworks of Differential Susceptibility and Biological Sensitivity to Context.

Authors discuss similarities and differences between the two sensitivity theories and outline the neurobiological and physiological mechanisms of sensitivity in an attempt to integrate the two frameworks.

After summarising empirical evidence for individual differences in sensitivity, authors discuss methodological and statistical considerations for research on sensitivity as well as the practical implications of sensitivity for psychosocial interventions before suggesting an agenda for future research on Environmental Sensitivity.