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After you perform a search, you can sort the articles by Year. This will rearrange the results of your search chronologically, displaying the earliest published articles first. This feature is useful to trace the development of a specific psychoanalytic concept through time.

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Starr, P.H. (1954). Psychoses in Children: Their Origin and Structure. Psychoanal Q., 23:544-565.

(1954). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 23:544-565

Psychoses in Children: Their Origin and Structure

Phillip H. Starr, M.D.


Freud's major interest was in the neuroses and perversions; this interest produced as a by-product his study of the vicissitudes of instincts and of psychosexual development. During the past two decades 'atypical' psychiatric disorders have been increasingly studied. Here we examine the 'atypical' or psychotic disorders of infancy and childhood, a study which we hope will aid in the decipherment of the riddle of schizophrenia.

Examination of psychosexual development alone will not lead us very far in the problem of childhood psychoses. Fortunately we are today able to think in terms of four aspects of development. This multiple view has made more meaningful many symptomatic manifestations which hitherto seemed unclassifiable when studied only in terms of libido development. Our attempt to understand the varied clinical pictures that psychotic children present becomes possible only by appraisal of development, and disturbances in development, in these four areas: (a) ego functions (motility, perception, intellectual function, testing of reality, synthetic or integrative function, and defense mechanisms); (b) object relationships (including consideration of recent concepts such as pre-objects [Spitz], part objects, auxiliary ego [Mahler, Spitz], relationships with inanimate objects, and symbiotic objects [Mahler]); (c) affectivity; (d) sexuality.


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