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date: 24 February 2020

(p. xxiii) Preface

(p. xxiii) Preface

This comprehensive handbook on clinical child and adolescent psychology is long overdue. As noted by Don Routh (in the first chapter of this volume), Lightner Witmer is frequently cited as the “father” of clinical psychology and clinical child and adolescent psychology in particular. He established the first psychological clinic dedicated to serving children and adolescents at the University of Pennsylvania in 1896 and founded the journal Psychological Clinic in 1907. Initially, much attention was afforded to the psychological assessment of youth (especially the assessment of intelligence, academic achievement, and personality) and the description of specific problems in adjustment. Treatment of these youth and their families was less often studied, and the basic psychopathology underlying these problems in living and potential disorders was largely ignored. Since those early years, the field has evolved steadily and in recent years exponentially. As a result, there is a pressing need among students, practitioners, and researchers for a comprehensive, cutting-edge compendium on the latest theoretical and empirical developments by leaders in the field. Accordingly, we are delighted to introduce readers to The Oxford Handbook of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.

Fortunately, the past quarter century has witnessed not only the refinement of evidence-based assessment practices (Hunsley & Mash, 2017; McLeod, Jensen-Doss, & Ollendick, 2013) but also a richer understanding of the processes and possible mechanisms that give rise to mental disorders and adjustment problems in children as witnessed by the emergence of clinical applications of neuroscience, epigenetics, and developmental science (Beauchaine & Hinshaw, 2016; Essau, Leblanc, & Ollendick, 2017). Furthermore, the development, evaluation, and dissemination of evidence-based treatments have flourished in recent years (Flessner & Piacentini, 2017; Theodore, 2017).

In the current 51-chapter handbook, we hope to capture much of this excitement by bringing together developments in the expression, etiology, assessment, and treatment of various child and adolescent psychiatric disorders and related problems that characterize youth and their development. This volume consists of five parts. By providing a broad conceptual and empirical overview, Part I sets the stage for the remaining sections on specific disorders and problems. Eleven chapters are included in Part I and cover the history of the field, the role of developmental psychology and developmental psychopathology in understanding these disorders and problems, their epidemiology and diagnostic classification, their assessment and conceptualization, and the research methodology used to study them. We conclude this first section with an in-depth examination of legal and ethical issues, sociocultural and racial/ethnic considerations, and finally the considerable societal cost associated with these disorders.

In Parts II and III, specific disorders and special problems in childhood and adolescence are examined, and state-of-the-art assessment and treatment practices are presented. These chapters contain case studies, examples, and descriptions of specific clinical applications to illustrate current practices and to highlight the many developments that have occurred over the years. In Part II, 20 specific Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), disorders (American Psychiatric Association, 2013) are examined: intellectual disabilities, communication disorders (p. xxiv) related to language impairment, communication disorders related to neurodevelopment considerations, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorder, specific learning disorders, schizophrenia spectrum disorders, bipolar and related disorders, depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, disorders related to obsessive–compulsive disorder, trauma- and stressor-related disorders, feeding and eating disorders, toileting and incontinence, sleep–wake disorders, gender dysphoria, disruptive and conduct disorders, tic disorders, substance and addictive disorders, and personality disorders. In Part III, eight special problems in childhood and adolescence are examined: the maltreatment of youth, children of divorce, children with incarcerated parents, non-suicidal self-injury among youth, youth with suicidal thoughts and behavior, children who bully or are bullied, youth with medical conditions, and youth with neurobehavioral disorders. Collectively, the chapters in Parts II and III examine an array of disorders and problems in childhood and adolescence and in doing so articulate the basic psychopathology underlying them, their assessment, and their treatment. The chapters also frequently comment on the interrelations and co-occurrence of these various problems and diagnoses and the implications of these intersections for assessment and treatment.

In Part IV, we present six chapters that describe the practice of clinical child and adolescent psychology in diverse settings: school, community mental health, outpatient, inpatient, forensic, and private practice settings. Special issues associated with evidence-based assessment and treatment in these contexts are addressed, and recommendations for delivery of services are put forth. We hope these chapters will be especially useful to practitioners and to researchers who are examining the oft-cited “gap” between research and clinical practice, as consideration of implementation within target settings may advance effectiveness, dissemination, and implementation research and ultimately help close the gap.

Finally, in Part V (six chapters), we present timely topics that will likely influence mental health care and research with children and adolescents over the next couple of decades; the first five of these chapters deal with the neurobiological mechanisms underlying psychopathology and treatment, electronic and communication and telehealth delivery developments, cognitive training methods and technology, transdiagnostic approaches, and pediatric psychopharmacology. We conclude this section and the volume with special attention to the role of dissemination of evidence-based assessment and treatment. Although these new frontiers are in their early stages, they each hold considerable promise for advancement and progress in this field of inquiry.

Finally, we should note that we embarked on this volume following our collective work in clinical child and adolescent psychology over the years. We have taught a variety of courses on the psychopathology, assessment, and treatment of the disorders and problems that characterize youth and their families. Often, these were courses that dealt with only one facet of this triad (e.g., psychopathology, assessment, or treatment); here, we sought to combine these facets in the same comprehensive volume. We believe we have achieved our mission and have generated a handbook that nicely combines the latest research and clinical sophistication from leading researchers and clinicians on a variety of germane topics. We believe this volume will be a valuable resource for mental health professionals and graduate students in training from a variety of backgrounds who want to remain or become abreast of current breakthroughs in understanding, assessing, and treating the various forms of child and adolescent psychopathology and problems in adjustment.

In closing, we wish to acknowledge the efforts of our many contributors from around the world whose expertise and dedication to the project have been unparalleled. Without them, such careful and comprehensive coverage of the various topics could not have (p. xxv) been achieved. It truly was exciting for us to work with each of them to bring this 2-year project to fruition. We also wish to give special thanks to David Barlow, who recommended us to Oxford as potential editors for this work and whose volume, The Oxford Handbook of Clinical Psychology, was the inspiration for this compendium. We hope we have delivered a volume on children and adolescents that will live up to his seminal volume on adult disorders and adjustment. Finally, we wish to give thanks to Sarah Harrington and the other professionals at Oxford University Press who helped us along each step of the way. This was a team effort!

Thomas H. Ollendick, Susan W. White, and Bradley A. White

Child Study Center and Department of Psychology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.Find this resource:

Beauchaine, T. P., & Hinshaw, S. P. (Eds.). (2016). The Oxford handbook of externalizing spectrum disorders. New York: Oxford University Press.Find this resource:

Essau, C. A., Leblanc, S., & Ollendick, T. H. (Eds.). (2017). Emotion regulation and psychopathology in children and adolescents. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.Find this resource:

Flessner, C. A., & Piacentini, J. (Eds.). (2017). Clinical handbook of psychological disorders in children and adolescents: A step-by-step manual. New York: Guilford Press.Find this resource:

Hunsley, J., & Mash, E. J. (Eds.). (2017). A guide to assessments that work (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.Find this resource:

McLeod, B. D., Jensen-Doss, A., & Ollendick, T. H. (Eds.). (2013). Diagnostic and behavioral assessment in children and adolescents: A clinical guide. New York: Guilford Press.Find this resource:

Theodore, L. A. (Ed.). (2017). Handbook of evidence based interventions for children and adolescents. New York: Springer. (p. xxvi) Find this resource: