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Book Reviews   |    
Anxiety, Depression, and Emotion
Reviewed by John R. Walker, Ph.D.
Psychiatric Services 2001; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.52.12.1663
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edited by Richard J. Davidson; New York, Oxford University Press, 2000, 291 pages, $60

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This volume is based on papers presented in 1995 at the First Wisconsin Symposium on Emotion at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Initially I was concerned that the material might be somewhat out of date, but a review of the chapters indicated that the contributors have added many references to recent work, including their own. The chapter authors provide overviews of their area of study and a perspective on some of the most up-to-date research and theories in each area.

The symposium's coverage of the field and the resulting book were intended to be broad, and the book reflects this goal. The chapters cover a range of topics, including animal models of anxiety and depression; neuroimaging; cognitive functioning in depression; mood, personality, and personality disorder; and normal development of emotion in children. Six researchers, all authorities in their fields, present research on the relationship between emotion and psychopathology. Each of their chapters is followed by a chapter containing commentary that is based on the discussion that took place among other researchers and students who attended the symposium.

I work in a setting in which the focus is on clinical service, teaching, and applied research. I regularly read reports of applied research but am able to devote less time to keeping up with basic research. I hoped that this book might help me reconnect with the basic research in these fields. The chapters on animal models were heavy going at first, but with persistence I was rewarded with valuable insights about our understanding of anxiety that is related to defensive behaviors and depression that is related to deficiencies in appetitive behaviors from the broader perspective of basic behavioral research.

The chapter on cognitive functioning in depression provides a helpful summary of the wide range of studies in this area and realistic suggestions for future research. The chapter on mood, personality, and personality disorder presents a very broad perspective relating the distinct—and often isolated—literatures from these three areas to one another. The author offers a clear summary of the relationships among these fields and helps tie together much of the basic research on emotion and the field of psychopathology.

The chapter on the development of complex emotions in children offers a developmental perspective on psychopathology. The views expressed in this chapter are more speculative, but it is clear that future research on emotional development in children will be essential to our understanding of adult psychopathology.

I came away from Anxiety, Depression, and Emotion with many new perspectives from which to view psychopathology and our efforts to treat anxiety and mood disorders. I would highly recommend the book to colleagues and students working in the field of anxiety and depression. The insights it provides will help strengthen their understanding of these central clinical problems.

Dr. Walker is professor of clinical health psychology at the University of Manitoba and director of the anxiety disorders program at St. Boniface General Hospital in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

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