Stella Chess and Alexander Thomas, editors ANNUAL PROGRESS IN CHILD PSYCHIATRY AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT New York: Brunner/Mazel, Publishers, 1977. 782 pp., $20.
This 1977 review of annual progress in child psychiatry and child development is the 10th in a series started in 1968 by Stella Chess and Alexander Thomas. The collection has made outstanding contributions to the field of child psychiatry throughout the years, and this volume maintains the same high standards. All the articles presented had been reprinted from other journals and represent original work of a research or clinical nature, with a few that tend to present knowledge already acquired in a systematic way.
This volume is divided into several sections. The first one, called "Infancy Studies," contains five papers on research and observation in infancy. I found the first three especially difficult to read because of extremely technical language in the field of psychology and behaviorism. The article on the influence of the father in the development of young children, by Felton Earls, is especially interesting, and I highly recommend it.
The second section is on developmental issues, and it would be difficult to single out a particular article in this section, since all of them are quite good. The fourth section is on biochemical studies, from which I would like to select the article on behavior in the Lesch-Nyhan syndrome, by William Nyhan, as extremely stimulating. The three presentations under the title of psycho-sexual development are especially worthwhile and should be read by anybody interested in sexual development, homosexuality, and transsexualiry. The following section, which deals with sex differences in young children, tends to complement the previous one by showing normal development.
Sections six and seven deal with the development of twins and the hyperactive child. Section eight is dedicated to clinical issues, and in this section I found the Isle of Wight Studies (19641974), by Michael Rutter et al., fascinating from an epidemiologic point of view. In section nine, on psychopathology of adolescence, the article by Chess and Thomas, "Evolution of Behavior Disorders in Adolescence," is particularly interesting and gives us some perspective on the work we do at present with children.
Section 10 deals with childhood psychosis and contains the extremely thorough article of Ornitz and Ritvo on the syndrome of autism, a clinical review. Sections 11, 12, and 13 deal with social-cultural, cross-cultural, and legal issues. All of them contain stimulating, well-documented, and provocative presentations.
This volume has an added attraction - the comprehensive indices of all the authors and articles published in this annual series during the past 10 years. These indices provide, therefore, an excellent reference guide to a decade of progress in the field of child psychiatry.