Electroshock and Minors: A Fifty-Year Review

By Steve Baldwin; Melissa Oxlad | Go to book overview

Chapter 8
Multiple Case Sampling of ECT Administration to 217 Minors: Review and Meta-Analysis

INTRODUCTION

Since the invention of electroconvulsive therapy by Cerletti and Bini ( 1939) in 1938, there has been considerable controversy about the indications for this treatment. Parallel debates have continued about effectiveness, efficacy and utility. These debates continued into the 1990s, with administration of ECT/EST in a period of contemporary resurgence, in a context of twin clinical foci on costeffectiveness and outcomes. Advocates of ECT have maintained that it is a highly effective intervention for all populations, including children/adolescents ( Abrams, 1994; Fink, 1990). Critics have objected strongly to ECT administration with minors, on clinical, moral, legal, philosophical and ethical grounds.

Until the 1940s, ECT was used almost exclusively with adult populations. By the end of the 1940s, however, Bender ( 1947) and Heuyer et al. ( 1947) had set a precedent for ECT use with a new target population: children/adolescents. In the United States, Bender ( 1947) published a landmark study which reported data about the administration of ECT to ninety-eight children and adolescents. Also in 1947, Heuyer et al. ( 1947) published a similar report from a European study; in France, psychiatrists reported data after the administration of ECT to twenty-nine minors. These studies were subsequently highly influential in the development of ECT practices in North America, Europe and worldwide.

After these studies, psychiatrists used ECT with children and adolescents

This chapter is reproduced with permission from Carfax and the Journal of Mental Health, 5 ( 5) ( 1996) 451-463 (http://www.tandf.ac.uk)

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