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Book Review

Child Psychology and Psychiatry: Frameworks for Practice, 2nd ed

Edwin J. Mikkelsen, MD

Published: October 15, 2012

Child Psychology and Psychiatry: Frameworks for Practice, 2nd ed

Edited by David Skuse, MD; Helen Bruce, MD; Linda Dowdney, PhD; and David Mrazek, MD. Wiley-Blackwell, Hoboken, NJ, 2011, 306 pp, $69.95 (paper).

Although this is an impressive textbook, the relatively diminutive size of this paperback does not, initially, convey the scope of the contents to the prospective reader. The editors are all well-recognized experts in the subject matter of the text, and they have enlisted the assistance of a knowledgeable faculty of contributors to prepare the 46 chapters, which have been divided into 7 sections. The breadth of the subject matter contained in the book can best be conveyed by briefly listing those sections:

  • Section 1: Developing Competencies

a. Contextual Influences upon Social and Emotional Development

b. General Patterns of Development

  • Section 2: Promoting Well-Being, ie, general patterns of development
  • Section 3: Attachment and Separation
  • Section 4: The Impact of Trauma and Maltreatment
  • Section 5: Atypical Development

a. Infancy and Early Childhood

b. Middle Childhood

c. Adolescence

  • Section 6: Assessment
  • Section 7: Approaches to Intervention

Given the number of contributors, one might expect a great deal of variability in the format and content of the chapters. However, the editors have managed to provide consistency in terms of both the quality of the content and the format across sections in the individual chapters.

The content of each chapters appears to be directed toward providing the reader with a general overview of the subject matter related to the topic of the chapter. This intention is reflected in the number of references per chapter, which ranges from single digits to, in a few instances, over 30. The bulk of the chapters contain references that number in the mid-teens to mid-twenties. Thus, the individual chapters are not meant to provide a definitive analysis of all of the controversies or disputed theoretical constructs related to each topic but, rather, attempt to present a mainstream consensus viewpoint. However, there is variability between the different sections with regard to how comprehensive the reviews are in terms of providing a stand-alone reference on the subject matter.

The 2 sections that come the closest to providing a comprehensive overview of broad subject matter are Section 1 and Section 6. Section 1 covers the topic of development and, as noted above, is divided into 2 subsections. Section 6 covers the topic of psychological assessment. Both sections also contain a number of charts and illustrations that augment the narrative reviews.

The weakest section (in terms of providing a stand-alone resource) is Section 7, "Approaches to Intervention," which contains chapters with a generally useful, but limited, overview of the respective subjective manner. To some degree, this is understandable, as entire textbooks are often devoted to the subject matter of this section.

The authors do not identify an intended audience for this book in their preface. This review would suggest that it would be useful for students and advanced trainees in the fields of psychology, psychiatry, pediatrics, or other disciplines that require a solid grounding in child development. Active practitioners will also find it useful in updating their knowledge base with a user-friendly reference book.

Edwin J. Mikkelsen, MD

Author affiliations: Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

Potential conflicts of interest: None reported.

Volume: 73

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