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Book Review   |    
Developmental Psychopathology: Perspectives on Adjustment, Risk, and Disorder
Peter F. Toscano, Jr., Ph.D.
Psychiatric Services 1998; doi:
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edited by Suniya S. Luthar, Jacob A. Burack, Dante Cicchetti, and John R. Weisz; New York City, Cambridge University Press, 1997, 618 pages, $69.95 hardcover, $27.95 softcover

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The last 20 years have witnessed the rapid emergence of the discipline of developmental psychopathology as it attempts to understand abnormal behavior within the framework of normal development. In Developmental Psychopathology, editors Luthar and associates offer an ambitious and timely text aimed at integrating basic principles and their implications for research, clinical applications, and social policy. They do so through the presentation of current theoretical perspectives and major research findings across various domains of adjustment, risk, and disorder.

As the editors note, their goal is to present an integration of these ideas and not an exhaustive account of the literature in this area. The organization of the volume is especially helpful in accomplishing this objective; it is based on the premise of elucidating the central principles in diverse contexts.

Part 1 centers on individual differences, such as race and gender, and their implications for adaptation and maladjustment. Part 2 focuses on risks associated with specific forms of maladjustment such as conduct disorder and depressive illnesses. Parts 3 and 4 examine the interplay of these risks with broader contextual variables of culture, family, and sociodemographic factors. Introductory chapters for each of these sections are written by the various editors and provide the reader with an excellent overview and an exposure to their creative thinking.

The book is intended to be used as a text in developmental psychopathology for students and researchers working in child development, clinical psychology, psychiatry, and related disciplines. Although selected chapters tend to be somewhat academic and pedagogic at times, the book as a whole reflects the discipline's explicit goal of deriving implications for real-life clinical and social interventions. As such, it would be useful for academicians as well as practicing clinicians with a vision for innovative practice. The book is dedicated to Edward Zigler, whose life work has mirrored these goals within the discipline he pioneered.

Dr. Toscano is director of child and adolescent ambulatory psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester.

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