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Gerard, M.W. (1943). Sex in Development: By Carney Landis, et al., with a Foreword by Nolan D. C. Lewis. New York: Paul B. Hoeber, Inc., 1940. 329 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 12:135-137.

(1943). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 12:135-137

Sex in Development: By Carney Landis, et al., with a Foreword by Nolan D. C. Lewis. New York: Paul B. Hoeber, Inc., 1940. 329 pp.

Review by:
Margaret W. Gerard

In his subtitle Dr. Landis claims that this book is 'a study of the growth and development of the emotional and sexual aspects of personality together with physiological, anatomical, and medical information on a group of 153 normal women and 142 female psychiatric patients'. The data from which he draws his final conclusions consist of the answers to a questionnaire called in the book 'controlled interview', which was given to female inmates of psychiatric sanitariums to represent the 'abnormal' subjects and to women drawn from women's clubs, adult education agencies, recreational societies, and the like, to represent the 'normal'. To the information obtained from the questionnaires Dr. Landis adds the findings of physical examinations of these women with special reference to the characteristics of the internal and external genitalia. At no place in the book is there any explanation of the discrepancy between the title of the book and the selection of only female subjects for investigation, except a statement that it was more practical to limit the study to women.

The inadequacy of the questionnaire method for the investigation of personality problems has been pointed out many times by many authorities. It is expressed again by Dr. Lewis in his foreword to this book.

Some students of psychology and psychiatry may object to the interview technique used in this study, holding that such a method is not only inadequate to obtain information on homoeroticism, narcissism, and many tabooed sexual matters, but also it fails to show familial and interpersonal difficulties and relationships which bear on the subject. These students will insist that the deeply rooted infantile sexuality emphasized by Freud as constituting the background of neurotic as well as of some psychotic manifestations is not accessible to this type of study. In certain types of personality construction, particularly in the more reticent of shy individuals who are reluctant to reveal even the conscious content, it requires a number of interviews to obtain any information which approximates the truth.

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