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December 28, 1984

The Psychobiology of Childhood: A Profile of Current Issues

Author Affiliations

University of Hawaii School of Medicine Honolulu

JAMA. 1984;252(24):3423. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350240067056

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


This book was developed from a panel presented at a meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, which focused on psychobiological issues of childhood. The articles reflect a critical period in the medical subspecialty of child psychiatry—the transition between art and science. The contributors include some of the foremost researchers in the field, researchers who are responsible for the recent growth of child psychiatry as a scientific discipline.

A preponderant theme is attention deficit disorder (formerly known as hyperactive syndrome or minimal brain dysfunction). This condition is not only very common but was the first behavior disorder of childhood found to be responsive to medication. Several papers examine the evolution of the concept, its prevalence, theories of etiology, classification and diagnosis, treatment response, and side effects.

The focus is clearly on research. Methodological issues are debated. Ethics, the subject of one paper, is considered only as a research issue— informed