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Book Reviews   |    
Handbook of Disruptive Behavior Disorders
Reviewed by Markus J. P. Kruesi, M.D.
Psychiatric Services 2001; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.52.8.1112-a
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edited by Herbert C. Quay and Anne E. Hogan; New York, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, 1999, 695 pages, $125

The stated purpose of this compendium is "to provide the researcher, clinician, teacher, and student in all mental health fields with as up-to-date information as possible about what have come to be called the Disruptive Behavior Disorders of children and adolescents." Wow! If this book lives up to this comprehensive goal, who could possibly be disappointed?

The list of authors is a virtual who's who of scholars on attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder. Herb Quay, who coedited the volume with Anne Hogan, not only is one of the seminal figures in research on disruptive behavior disorders but also is known to be fearless in his questioning of doctrinaire positions. Because I still refer to and use a book that Quay coedited with John Werry in the 1970s (1), I have high expectations for this volume.

Delving into the chapters, readers will find that gems abound. Topics that do not find their way into most texts appear here, and in some depth. For example, Jane Ledingham's chapter, "Children and Adolescents With Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder in the Community: Experiences at School and With Peers," devotes three full pages to the sexual maturation of, romantic and sexual relationships of, and parenting by youth with disruptive behavior disorders. The attention to reproductive behavior will warm the hearts of evolutionary biologists.

Many reviews of disruptive behavior disorders specifically exclude mental retardation. This volume, by contrast, contains a wonderful chapter by Betsey Benson and Michael Aman on disruptive behavior disorders among children with mental retardation. More than three pages in this chapter are devoted to self-injurious behavior. This section is rich in its implications for clinical practice. The authors note, for example, that existing research on neuroleptics for treatment of self-injurious behavior provides greater support for use of thioridazine than of haloperidol, and that evidence for chlorpromazine is largely negative.

For theorists, the book includes a thoughtful critique by Steve Hinshaw and Teron Park on variable-centered versus person-centered research and the implications for research on disruptive behavior disorders. Thought-provoking observations abound. Richard Tremblay and his colleagues observe that they found no interventions in pregnancy or in infancy aimed specifically at prevention of disruptive behavior disorders despite the fact that chronic disruptive behavior often begins in the first 700 days of life. Lahey, Pliszka, Frick, Barkley, Kavale, Werry, Pat Chamberlain, and many others provide thoughtful insights and well-referenced analysis.

So who won't like this book? The reader looking for a cookbook of how-to recipes will be disappointed. If you need to answer questions such as "How do I start a child with disruptive behavior disorder on clonidine and when do I increase the dosage?" or "What should I ask to assess whether a child with disruptive behavior disorder will physically aggress at school tomorrow?" then this volume is not the one to turn to. It does not provide quick how-to answers. It does provide thought-provoking, useful information, and it will serve as a valuable reference.

Dr. Kruesi is professor and director of the youth division in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

Quay HC, Werry JS: Psychopathological Disorders of Childhood. New York, Wiley, 1979
 
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References

Quay HC, Werry JS: Psychopathological Disorders of Childhood. New York, Wiley, 1979
 
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