Professor at the University of the Balearic Islands, he teaches courses of Neuroscience and Health Psychology at master level and Cognitive Psychology at undergraduate level. Dr. Bornas has been principal researcher in competitive projects since 1992, and his current research focuses on adolescents' anxiety from a Dynamical Systems Theory approach. The dynamics of both self-reported anxiety and its physiological concomitants are among the specific goals of his research. Review editor for Frontiers in Psychology/Psychology for clinical settings, member of the Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology and Life Sciences, recently he has published the updated 2nd edition of the book "Psicopatología y caos" (www.bubok.es), and introduction to the nonlinear study of psychological diseases. He has co-authored a number of papers in leading journals (Biological Psychology, International Journal of Psychophysiology, Emotion, Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, etc.).
The onset of many anxiety disorders and other psychopathologies can be located between late childhood and adolescence. Therefore, research focused on these ages is crucial to understand the course and the causes of those disorders. Three research groups investigating psychopathology in children and adolescents, leaded by Cecilia Essau (University of Roehampton), Antonio Godoy (University of Málaga), and Xavier Bornas (University of the Balearic Islands) will present some of their current research studies and will share the results and conclusions with people attending this symposium. The role of parenting and the impact of family functioning on adolescent psychopathology is the focus of the study presented by Dr. Essau’s research group. They successfully tested the hypothesis that non-flexible, disengaged or chaotic families would be more likely found around adolescents with psychopathology. Dr. Godoy’s study addresses a crucial issue at the level of anxiety-related traits and dispositions. Specifically, they present statistical evidence supporting the need to carefully distinguish trait anxiety from anxiety sensitivity since, for instance, each construct is related to depression in a different way. Finally, two studies from Dr. Bornas’s research group will be presented. The trajectories of anxiety along two years are evaluated with growth mixture models in the first study, where the role of temperamental factors in determining those dynamical trajectories is also investigated. The second study focuses on the gender-related differences in the complexity of the adolescent’s heartbeat and shows that effortful control predicts some of that complexity in girls but not in boys. These four studies, and the research background where each one was performed, should be just a sample of the psychopathology-related topics that are currently under the focus of scientific psychological research on childhood and adolescence.