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December 6, 1985

Child Psychiatrists and the Threat of Nuclear War

Author Affiliations

American Academy of Child Psychiatry Committee on the Developmental and Clinical Aspects of the Nuclear Threat Berkeley, Calif

JAMA. 1985;254(21):3035. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360210049018

To the Editor.—  I wish to express my gratitude in general for another issue of JAMA commemorating Hiroshima, and in particular for the excellent article by Paul Boyer1 on the history of the medical profession and the threat of nuclear war.One small aspect of the history, which has become a subject of fascination for me but on which Professor Boyer does not comment, is the special role played by child psychiatrists and their colleagues in attempting to confront nuclear issues. In 1965, psychologists Sibylle Escalona2 and Milton Schwebel3 each designed and administered the first surveys of children's attitudes toward the threat of nuclear war. Shortly afterward, a child psychiatrist, a psychoanalyst, and a child psychologist (Viola Bernard, Perry Ottenberg, and Fritz Redl) wrote compellingly about the dehumanizing aspects of war.4As was true for the medical profession generally, little more was written about the impact of