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February 10, 1989

The Psychology of Women: Ongoing Debate

JAMA. 1989;261(6):926. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420060142057

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


One way to heighten our interest in and understanding of an issue is to state it in its most blatant form. This technique both clarifies the subject matter and helps us to articulate our own position on it. In The Psychology of Women: Ongoing Debate, this is exactly what editor, Mary Roth Walsh, has done.

Walsh takes 14 questions in the area of psychology and gender and states them baldly. Questions include, "Are women masochistic?," "Is lesbianism a sickness?," "Should mothers stay home with their young children?," and "Does abortion cause psychological harm to women?" After some discussion on the formulation of each question and a useful reference list and suggestions for further reading by the editor, the affirmative and negative of each question are presented and generally eloquently argued by different scholars.

The book is divided into four parts: "Psychoanalytic Theory and the Psychology of Women," "Femaleness and Psychological