As with the first edition of this book, this second edition of Assessment and Treatment of Child- hood Problems is based on our work in a primary health care setting. For almost 28 years our focus has been on enhancing children's development, preventing problems, and helping parents to manage stressful life events and common but often persistent and troublesome behavior problems. The primary health care setting has provided us with a unique opportunity to follow children as they develop from birth through adulthood. We view this development as a function of the dynamic interaction among the characteristics of the child and the parents, the environment, and chance events, and understand psychopathology to be normal development gone awry. Although we recognize the importance of adolescence, the focus of this book is on the development of children ages 2–12 years and the problems that can occur during these ages.
It has been 11 years since the publication of the first edition of this book and much has occurred during the intervening years. Of major importance is the emergence of the field of developmental psychopathology, with its focus on normal development and developmental variations throughout the life span. This interface between developmental psychology and clinical child psychology has greatly enhanced our understanding of when and how things can go wrong for children, and it provides guidance on developing effective preventive as well as assessment and intervention strategies. The advances of biological and genetic science have been enormous, and their influence on behavior and development has received an incredible amount of attention since the first edition was published. Theory and research in these areas have enhanced our understanding of the behavioral symptoms of problems such as depression, anxiety, and disruptive behavior disorders. We have learned, for example, that some behavioral disorders can be chronic and lifelong, thus requiring ongoing or periodic attention to maintain treatment gains. We have tried to reflect these advances in the literature reviews for each problem area, and it is our hope that this book will lead clinicians to a better understanding of the “state of the field” and will help guide them to a more empirically based approach to their work.
The importance of a theoretical approach to the work of the child clinician cannot be overstated. Our thinking has been strongly influenced by behavioral, social learning, and cognitive-behavioral theorists. Approaches to assessment and intervention that reflect these orientations are emphasized. For each problem area presented, we have tried to describe treatment methods that are developmentally sensitive and have some documented efficacy for the