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Schuman, E.P. (1977). Growth and Change of Schizophrenic Children: A Longitudinal Study. William Goldfarb. Washington, D.C.: V.H. Winston, 1974. xv + 271 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 64(3):468-470.

(1977). Psychoanalytic Review, 64(3):468-470

Growth and Change of Schizophrenic Children: A Longitudinal Study. William Goldfarb. Washington, D.C.: V.H. Winston, 1974. xv + 271 pp.

Review by:
Elliott P. Schuman

The search for meaning in schizophrenia continues with Growth and Change of Schizophrenic Children: A Longitudinal Study by William Goldfarb, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University. The study is unusual in several respects. The author has reached a number of conclusions. Most we would have expected; a few are unexpected.

From 1962 to 1967 all children admitted to the Henry Ittleson Center for Child Research in New York City became subjects for longitudinal study. They were tested and observed upon admission and annually thereafter while in residence. These observations and tests generated 40 scores, which represented the 40 children who, as of 1969, had remained in treatment for at least three years, by which time they were around ten years old. If a child remained longer, only the first 3 years he was in residence constituted the period of observation for this study. A control group consisted of “65 normal children … attending a New York City school with approximately the same racial, religious, and social characteristics as the children in the longitudinal study” (p. 41). No evidence for this claim was presented. Cross-sectional rather than longitudinal data for the control group, age six, to eleven, were available for 32 of the 40 variables. Thirteen members of this group were administered an abbreviated form of one of the motor tests (15 items of the Lincoln-Oseretsky Motor Development Scale), the same form that had been administered to the entire experimental group. Of the remaining 7 variables, 4 had norms that permitted comparisons with a standardization group and 3 had none.

Goldfarb states that “In every case the diagnosis of childhood schizophrenia was agreed upon by two child psychiatrists” (p. 21). We assume such diagnosis preceded admission. Although its is not stated, it appears that no applicant was refused admission, either because of a diagnosis other than childhood schizophrenia or for any other reason. Independently, each child was rated by a child neurologist on a 5-point scale for neurological integrity on the basis of his own neurological history and physical examination.

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