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Coolidge, J.C. Tessman, E. Waldfogel, S. Willer, M.L. (1962). Patterns of Aggression in School Phobia. Psychoanal. St. Child, 17:319-333.

(1962). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 17:319-333

Patterns of Aggression in School Phobia

John C. Coolidge, M.D., Ellen Tessman, Ph.D., Samuel Waldfogel, Ph.D. and Mary Lou Willer, M.S.

The central importance of the mother-child relationship in the genesis of school phobia was first noted by Johnson, et al. (1941) in their pioneering study of this syndrome. These writers clearly recognized that the fear of school was a manifestation of the child's anxiety at separating from the mother stemming from a long-standing hostile dependent relationship.

Subsequently, a number of clinical investigations have analyzed the nature of this relationship in greater detail. Eisenberg (1958) in an illuminating paper on the direct interaction between mother and child described the behavioral cues by which they communicated anxiety to one another under the threat of separation, and elucidated the transactions that serve to reinforce the neurotic pattern. Waldfogel, Coolidge, and Hahn (1957) dealt with the influence of parental behavior on the child's ego development and the relationship of this to symptom formation. Estes, Haylett, and Johnson (1956) underscored the fact that the child's neurosis never exists in isolation but is "always intimately associated with a complementary neurosis in the mother." They further suggested that since the fear of school is really a fear of separation, shared by both mother and child, it might better be labeled "separation anxiety."

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