Child & Adolescent Development: Overview

Review of "Child and Adolescent Psychological Disorders"

By Sandra D. Netherton, Deborah Holmes, and C. Eugene Walker (Editors)
Oxford University Press, 1999
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Jul 6th 2004
Child and Adolescent Psychological Disorders

While Child & Adolescent Psychological Disorders was published in 1999, and so will not include some of the latest scientific studies, it is still a valuable survey of the psychiatric disorders of young people.  The editors and contributors are all based in the USA, and so naturally the book concerns itself with American psychiatric practice.  With 604 pages, each of the 27 chapters is relatively concise.  Most disorders are covered, although remarkably there are no separate chapters devoted to obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders, and these conditions are mentioned only briefly in a few other places.  With rising diagnostic rates for bipolar disorder, one might also hope for a separate chapter devoted to it, rather than having it put together with clinical depression.  Similarly, with increasing numbers of very young children being diagnosed with mental disorders, one would hope for a chapter devoted to the particular issues that arise in that population.  On the other hand, it is good to see chapters that address both the social context of child and adolescent disorders and problems related to child abuse and neglect.  Another welcome feature of the book is the fact that many of the chapters start off with a short discussion of the historical development of the understanding of the disorder at hand.

The writing style is fairly uniform from chapter to chapter, using standard scientific notation and psychiatric abbreviations.  Each chapter has several pages of references documenting the scientific studies supporting the statements of the authors.  Chapters are divided into different sections so it is fairly simple to browse through pages and locate particular information quickly.  The index is quite thorough.  Non-psychiatrists familiar with clinical psychology should find the book quite accessible.

I am not in a position to assess the accuracy of the scientific information contained in the book, but since it is published by a respected university press and written by clinicians and researchers affiliated with respected academic institutions and medical schools, it should be as trustworthy as most of the standard psychiatric literature.  (Exactly how much trust we should place in this literature will of course be a matter of differing opinions.) 

In sum then, Child & Adolescent Psychological Disorders is a useful resource for clinicians and others seeking an overview of the current state of psychiatric knowledge of the mental disorders of young people.

 

© 2004 Christian Perring. All rights reserved.

 

Christian Perring, Ph.D., is Academic Chair of the Arts & Humanities Division and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is also editor of Metapsychology Online Review.  His main research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.

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