Treatment of Childhood Disorders 3rd Edition

By McGrath, Jennifer J. | Canadian Psychology, May 2007 | Go to article overview
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Treatment of Childhood Disorders 3rd Edition


McGrath, Jennifer J., Canadian Psychology


ERIC J.MASH and RUSSELL A. BARKLEY Treatment of Childhood Disorders 3rd Edition New York: Guilford Press, 2006, 884 pages (ISBN: 978-1-57230-921-0, US$75.00 Hardcover)

Reviewed by JENNIFER J. MCGRATH *

Mash and Barkley's Treatment of Childhood Disorders (2006) is an impressive compilation of chapters by distinguished authors in their respective fields, covering the major domains related to common childhood psychopathology, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), conduct disorder, fear and anxiety, depression, mental retardation, autism spectrum disorders, learning disabilities, physical abuse and neglect, sexual abuse, substance use, and eating disorders. This landmark book, now in its third edition, provides the current state of knowledge about treatment intervention within these domains.

Treatment of Childhood Disorders could grace the bookshelves of a wide audience. It will continue to serve as an outstanding text for a graduate-level childhood intervention course, as the information is contemporary, highly readable, and provides a solid overview of treatment for common childhood presenting problems. Similarly, the reference will provide good background information for general clinicians. The book is neither a treatment handbook nor a howto manual. Instead, the emphasis is largely on criticalIy reviewing and synthesizing those treatment interventions with empirical support and considering their practical application for clinical settings. Each chapter includes a comprehensive overview of the childhood disorder and its associated treatment interventions, with some chapters truly exemplary in their synthesis of the extant literature. Highlights from each chapter include the following.

The treatment of childhood disorders is framed within the cognitive-behavioural systems perspective, which is the topic of the first chapter. This perspective emphasizes the importance of context, and hence, the shift in the field to use increasingly multimodal treatments, spanning disciplines. It further encourages the use of therapy as a collaborative decision-making process. The role of prevention and the importance of systematically reviewing treatment findings (e.g., meta analyses) to guide future scientific endeavours are underscored.

The ADHD chapter starts with a clear discussion of diagnostic issues, the developmental course, and the latest etiological research regarding potential biological and neurological underpinnings, and the possible role of environmental toxins. An impressive critical review of treatments for ADHD is provided, including discussion of the essential components of interventions such as parent training, classroom-based programs, social skills training, and pharmacotherapy.

The conduct disorders chapter includes information regarding the diagnosis, developmental course, assessment issues, and subtyping of the disorder. Overviews of treatment (e.g., family-based, skills training, community-based, school-based and pharmacotherapy) and prevention are provided. The chapter concludes with a section outlining predictors associated with treatment effectiveness.

The fear and anxiety chapter provides an extensive overview of theoretical models and basic classes of treatment strategies from a conceptual perspective. A comprehensive list of over 100 studies, organized by treatment class (e.g., exposure, modeling, cognitivebehavioural therapy, and other interventions), is presented in an appendix.

The depression chapter outlines demographic characteristics associated with treatment presentation, the course of depression, therapeutic context, and a brief overview of therapeutic approaches. Extensive coverage of the ACTION treatment (an NIMH-funded study intervention for depressed girls aged 9 to 13 years, currently underway) is included, with some discussion of other research-based treatments and pharmacotherapy.

The mental retardation chapter discusses definition and diagnostic issues and the importance of early intervention.

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