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
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.
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