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Kestenberg, J.S. (1986). Parenthood: A Psychodynamic Perspective: Edited by Rebecca S. Cohen, Bertram J. Cohler, and Sidney H. Weissman. New York/London: Guilford Press, 1984. 426 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 55:354-358.

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(1986). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 55:354-358

Parenthood: A Psychodynamic Perspective: Edited by Rebecca S. Cohen, Bertram J. Cohler, and Sidney H. Weissman. New York/London: Guilford Press, 1984. 426 pp.

Review by:
Judith S. Kestenberg

This volume derives from a conference titled "Parenthood as an Adult Experience," sponsored by the Michael Reese Hospital Department of Psychiatry in 1980. It addresses multiple points of view: sociobiological (e.g., a review by Jeanne Altmann of parental behavior in primates); developmental (as exemplified in E. James Anthony's original and perceptive article, "Creative Parenthood"); psychosocial (ranging from parental psychopathology to parental behavior in divorce and bereavement); and psychoanalytic (covering traditional psychoanalysis, Kohut's views, and an ethological contribution by Bowlby). Each section is prefaced by an editorial introduction, and there is an editorial summary at the end of the book.

What is missing is the biological point of view. Nothing is said about differences in the reproductive functions of the two sexes and the way they influence maternal and paternal behavior. There is nothing about hormonal factors. Anthony and Benedek's Parenthood


1 Anthony, E. J. & Benedek, T. (1970): Parenthood. Its Psychology and Psychopathology. Boston: Little, Brown & Co.

2 Benedek, T. (1959): Parenthood as a developmental phase. A contribution to the libido theory. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 7:389-417.

3 Benedek, T. (1952): Psychosexual Functions in Women. New York: Ronald Press.

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