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June 19, 1972

Modern Perspectives in Adolescent Psychiatry

Author Affiliations

Washington University St. Louis


edited by John G. Howells, 614 pp, with illus, $20, Brunner/Mazel, Inc., 1971.

JAMA. 1972;220(12):1620-1621. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03200120068036

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Judging by this book, adolescent psychiatry appears to be experiencing an identity crisis. The 20 authors contributing to this volume, while they demonstrate the diversity of adolescent psychiatry, also indicate this field's current difficulty both in defining itself and in separating itself from adult and child psychiatry.

The book is divided into two major sections. The first, mislabeled as "Scientific," mainly contains arguments for or against Erik Erickson's theories regarding adolescence, arguments which, with few exceptions, are based on anecdotal evidence and armchair speculation. Only three chapters in this section seem able to avoid mention of Erickson—one on sexuality in adolescence, based on a British study of questionable current relevance; one on the physiology of adolescence and one on intelligence ratings in adolescence, both competently written but neither making any substantial effort to relate itself to adolescent psychiatry.

The second section, labeled as "Clinical," extends from a chapter on depersonalization