When compared to the rest of abnormal psychology, the history of abnormal child psychology is relatively brief. Indeed, the major findings in the field only can be traced to the last three to four decades. And within that time span, the most exciting developments have taken place since the 1970s. Although abnormal child psychology is a relatively new subdiscipline, it already has had numerous influences, including developmental psychology; epidemiology; psychophysiology; genetics; psychopathology; and the data-based approaches to assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. Overall, the influences have been of an empirical nature. In a very short time, the exponential growth of this subdiscipline has made the area complex. Given the extent of such complexity, we believe that the student requires a firm grounding in the basics before she or he can have a full understanding of the nuances of psychopathology and its treatment interventions.
In this part of the text, we provide the reader with an overview of advanced abnormal child psychology, outlining the contributions from a variety of directions. First, in chapter 1, Brad Donohue, Michel Hersen, and Robert T. Ammerman review the historical developments, essentially documenting both the neglect and abuse that children suffered at the hands of society well into the 20th century. The authors describe historical antecedents that led to the discipline of child psychology, consider the status of contemporary psychotherapies, review the short history of child psychopharmacology, and look at the progression of diagnostic and empirical classification.
In chapter 2, Joseph R. Scotti and Tracy L. Morris review the salient issues relating to classification and diagnosis of childhood disorders, including new developments in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders ( 4th ed.). Criticisms of the psychiatric diagnostic scheme are considered, and the authors document the improvements in reliability and validity of DSM-III and DSM-III-R. Also discussed are the relations among diagnostic entities and the best methods for evaluating categorization of children at the empirical level.
In chapter 3, Gale A. Richardson and Nancy L. Day familiarize the student with epidemiologic principles. Classic studies in the field are reviewed. Critical issues in child psychiatric epidemiology are addressed, such as comorbidity (i.e., multiple diagnoses), definitions of psychopathology, developmental issues, and use of multiple informants to reach diagnostic conclusions.
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Publication information: Book title: Advanced Abnormal Child Psychology. Edition: 2nd. Contributors: Michel Hersen - Editor, Robert T. Ammerman - Editor. Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Place of publication: Mahwah, NJ. Publication year: 2000. Page number: 1.