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Book Reviews   |    
Young Adult Mental Health

Young Adult Mental Health
by edited by Jon E. Grant. and Marc N. Potenza.; New York, Oxford University Press, 2010, 464 pages, $79.95

Reviewed by Mason G. Haber, Ph.D.
Psychiatric Services 2011; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.62.11.1398a
View Author and Article Information
Dr. Haber is assistant professor with the Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

The reviewer reports no competing interests.

Copyright © 2011 by the American Psychiatric Association.

Recognition of young adulthood as a period of distinct significance for mental health has rapidly increased in recent years. Young adults are seen in many treatment settings and have high rates of costly conditions, such as alcohol and drug use disorders. Young adulthood is also a pivotal turning point in subsequent course of psychological health. The recent expansion of mental health research concerning young adults suggests the timeliness of an authoritative summary. In response, Young Adult Mental Health, in the words of its editors, was designed to “provide the latest knowledge about young adult mental health issues.” Unfortunately, many chapters in this edited work simply survey research on particular issues or diagnoses, placing little emphasis on understanding a condition's particular presentation, course, and implications among young adults.

The editors, Jon Grant and Marc Potenza, have specific expertise on gambling and impulse control disorders, which occur frequently among young adults. Chapters were solicited on a wide range of topics and grouped into sections on general developmental considerations, young adult psychosocial issues, and specific psychological disorders. To help draw the volume together and underscore practice implications, each chapter includes inset boxes summarizing key points and practice guidelines; however, these features appeared to be executed pro forma in many cases, providing recommendations that were vague or not grounded in chapter content.

Highlights of the first section included chapters on implications of young adult developmental tasks and on the course of disorders from childhood through young adulthood. Together, these provided an excellent overview of normal and abnormal development during the period. In the second section, chapters on access to care, coping with stress and trauma, intimate relationships, marriage, and parenting contribute accessible and practical discussions on these topics, although the supporting research presented is at times limited. In the third section, chapters on alcohol use and bipolar and pervasive developmental disorders are strengths, providing descriptions of epidemiology, presentation, course, and treatment that are thorough and specific to young adults. Some of the other chapters in this section, however, poorly address specific developmental issues or focus primarily on adolescents.

Limits of the existing evidence base may explain the lack of emphasis on young adults in parts of the book, particularly the section on specific disorders. I would have preferred to see more chapters on cross-cutting considerations, such as comorbidity, secondary prevention, or models for coordinating services (1). Focusing on such integrative topics would have helped to sharpen the focus on what is known about young adult mental health and better identified priorities for future research.

Despite its weaknesses, this volume is unique in providing an overall synthesis of research and guidelines for practice with young adults. I would recommend it as a starting point for researchers or clinicians seeking guidance on mental health issues in young adulthood.

Clark  HB:  TIP System Development and Operations Manual .  Tampa,  University of South Florida, Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, 2004
 
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References

Clark  HB:  TIP System Development and Operations Manual .  Tampa,  University of South Florida, Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, 2004
 
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