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Shapiro, T. (1991). Relationship Disturbances in Early Childhood: The Developmental Approach: Edited by Arnold J. Sameroff & Robert N. Emde. New York: Basic Books, 1989, 267 pp., $22.95.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 39:277-280.

(1991). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 39:277-280

Relationship Disturbances in Early Childhood: The Developmental Approach: Edited by Arnold J. Sameroff & Robert N. Emde. New York: Basic Books, 1989, 267 pp., $22.95.

Review by:
Theodore Shapiro, M.D.

This is not a book written for psychoanalysts, nor is it written in the analytic idiom, but it will be most illuminating to analysts because it is a description of the cutting edge of our understanding of relationship disturbances and shows the significant influence of analytic thinking on this burgeoning new field. A number of the authors represented are analysts, Robert N. Emde, Daniel Stern, Thomas Anders, and David Reis. They each also do empirical research.

As noted in the preface, "… the individual-based nosology for adult psychopathology could not easily be extended downward to early childhood" (p. vii). It was this dilemma that led these investigators to explore the matter from another perspective and conclude, "Perhaps there is no psychopathology in the infant; for developmental reasons, disorder can only be in the infant-caregiver relationship" (p. 14). The work that ensued and the results of the deliberations of the group are the contents of this book which is divided into three parts. The first part addresses development. The authors repeat and interdigitate the varying points of view of recent thinkers and investigators including Sameroff, Emde, Stern and Sroufe.

Part 2 addresses disturbance, drawing on the work of Sroufe and Anders and adding Arthur Parmalee's pediatric vantage point. Finally, the section on context brings us into sociopsychology, featuring the contributions of Liederman and Reis. Sameroff and Emde offer a summary statement about each of the models presented and also provide some direction for the future.

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