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Wolf, A.W. (1943). Preliminary Report on Children's Reactions to the War. (Including a Critical Survey of the Literature.): By J. Louise Despert, M.D. From the New York Hospital and Department of Psychiatry, Cornell University, Medical College, New York, 1942. 92 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 12:417-418.
    

(1943). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 12:417-418

Preliminary Report on Children's Reactions to the War. (Including a Critical Survey of the Literature.): By J. Louise Despert, M.D. From the New York Hospital and Department of Psychiatry, Cornell University, Medical College, New York, 1942. 92 pp.

Review by:
Anna W.M. Wolf

This study is based on the author's observations of a group of children in the Payne Whitney Nursery School. In the course of observation over a period of several years, an opportunity was afforded to compare wartime with peacetime behavior with special reference to anxiety manifestations. Replies to questionnaires sent to parents, observation in the nursery group, and special play sessions with the psychiatrist furnished the material for the study which was made intensively on fifteen children.

It became evident that all children manifesting anxiety in relation to the war had previously presented anxiety problems. But not all children with a history of anxiety developed increased anxiety under war conditions. Dr. Despert finds that even marked peacetime anxieties which disappeared prior to the war do not necessarily recur during wartime. Further, children in acute anxiety states of peacetime origin do not necessarily suffer exacerbations because of war. Dr. Despert also offers the observation that aggressive behavior is more successful than compulsive symptoms as a defense against anxiety. In other words, anxiety-aggressive children were less subject to anxiety arising from the war than anxiety-compulsive children.

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