Links among Theory, Research, and Practice: Cornerstones of Clinical Scientific Progress

Peter S. Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Discusses how explicit links among clinical theory, research, and practice are necessary if a clinical discipline is to survive in the managed care marketplace of today. Robust links among theory, research, and practice enable the elaboration of a systematic body of clinical knowledge that is practical in its deployment, effective in its methods, and compelling in its rationale. Moreover, theoretical advances are increasingly necessary, in that they allow scientists to categorize and prioritize the growing amount of empirically derived information, determine how pieces of multilevel data fit together, identify knowledge gaps, and set priorities for future studies. As shown by some of the articles in this special section, evolving theories of behavior have several characteristics in common; namely that they are developmental, transactional, contextual, adaptational, multilevel, and multidetermined. Concerns may be raised, however, as to whether current research methods are fully adequate to test these newer, more complex, multilevel theories or the clinical phenomena they seek to characterize. To address these difficulties, as well as to increase the pace of scientific advances that may result from propitious links among theory, research, and practice, I offer several recommendations to clinical psychology in general and to clinical child psychological research in particular.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-557
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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