Reviewed Books & Films

Main | October 2008 »

September 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

Psychologists and Health Care Reform

APA Mary Beth Kenkel, reviewing Ken Terry's Rx for Health Care Reform, writes "[G]roups of primary care physicians will be the basis for Terry's reformed health care system. Knowing this, it would be wise for psychologists to double their efforts to develop integrated health care systems in which psychologists are fully integrated into primary care practices (Kenkel, DeLeon, Mantell, & Steep, 2005). If capitated payments are made to primary care groups, the problem of how to pay for psychological services within a primary care office can be averted, and psychologists' contributions to patients' health care will save money for the group (Cummings, 1997)."

What role should psychologists play in the nation's efforts to reform the U.S. healthcare system?

Read the Review
ReviewTransforming the U.S. Health Care System—Reducing the Profit, Increasing the Care
By Mary Beth Kenkel
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2008 Vol 53(18)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Is Clint Eastwood Prejudiced?

APA In Kris Hagglund's review of Million Dollar Baby, he writes, "The disability community, by and large, has been incensed by this movie. It perpetuates the stereotype that people who experience a spinal cord injury, especially one that results in tetraplegia, would rather be dead—that life isn't worth living any longer. Maggie says "I can't be like this, not after what I done. People chanted my name. I want to die before I can't hear the voices." Maggie's plea is devastatingly romantic, reminiscent of other tragedies (e.g., Romeo and Juliet). However, the simple truth of the matter is that individuals who sustain traumatic, body-altering injuries do not want to die. Filmmakers and other artists have historically and irresponsibly perpetuated this myth."

How do you feel about Maggie's decision to die rather than to continue to cope with the limitations associated with her spinal cord injury?

Read the Review
ReviewMillion Dollar Baby: An Oscar's Worth of Grit
By Kristofer J. Hagglund
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2005 Vol 50(36)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Are Race and Ethnicity Synonyms?

APA Stephen Truhon, reviewing Quintana and McKown's Handbook of Race, Racism, and the Developing Child, writes "The authors offer hope, but not an easy one, for reducing racism and its effects. In doing so it is important to use the proper terminology. Although the terms race and ethnicity are frequently used interchangeably, throughout this book authors distinguish between the two. Race is a social construct that has little biological basis; ethnicity is more tangible, based on national origin and customs."

Is this distinction significant?

Read the Review
ReviewThe Sable Pride of Night
By Stephen A. Truhon
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2008 Vol 53(37)

Can Adults Have ADHD?

APA Psychologist Russell A. Barkley is one of the world's leading authorities on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. He and two of his colleagues have written a new book that PsycCRITIQUES reviewer Michelle Braun calls "a landmark contribution." Her enthusiastic review goes on to note "The quality and magnitude of ADHD in Adults: What the Science Says can uniquely inform future nosology and research on ADHD in adulthood. Clinicians, researchers, graduate students, and the educated lay public will likely feel that they have at once found both an authoritative reference on ADHD in adulthood and a text that actually addresses the common experiences of many adults with ADHD."

Despite the experience of many clinicians, an editorial in the American Journal of Psychiatry, notes "the current DSM provides merely grudging acknowledgment of the adult disorder and asserts that only a minority [of children] experience the full complement of symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder into mid-adulthood [and that] DSM field trials for ADHD were limited to school-aged children" (McGough & McCracken, 2006).

Does this Barkley et al. book—and the corpus of research on the topic—unequivocally establish the need for a DSM-V classification for ADHD in adults?

Read the Review
ReviewA Landmark Contribution to the Assessment and Treatment of ADHD in Adults
By Michelle Braun
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2008 Vol 53(37)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Should Psychologists Help Parents Who Want Perfect Children?

APA In his review of The Case Against Perfection, geneticist Millard Susman argues "Although it is impossible to say at what point a collection of individual grains becomes a heap, no one would argue that a single grain is the same as a heap. Nor is an acorn the equal of an oak, nor a blastocyst the equal of a person," and he goes on to note that "A steroid-powered home run is not the same as a natural one; a Ritalin-powered 1450 on the SAT is not the same as a natural one; a gene-powered 3-min 42-s mile would not be the same as a natural one."

Although Susman emphasizes the limits of genetic engineering, it is very likely that in the 21st century affluent parents will be able to choose the eye color, height—and perhaps the IQ and temperament—of each child they bear.

Should psychologists be concerned about this outcome? Is it ethical for psychologists to contribute to these decisions? Why shouldn't we all want the smartest children possible?

Read the Review
ReviewShould We Allow Geneticists to Fix the Lottery?
By Millard Susman
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2008 Vol 53(5)

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Do Diagnoses Really Matter in Films?

APA In his review of Lars and the Real Girl, Larry Leitner notes, “Lars, a tender and decent man [would] probably earn a DSM diagnosis of schizoid, avoidant, or perhaps even schizotypal personality disorder.”

What diagnosis would you give Lars?

Read the Review
ReviewHealing Through Relationship
By L. M. Leitner
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2008 Vol 53(35)

One of the Most Important New Books in Psychology?

APA Louis Rothschild calls Sidney Blatt’s Polarities of Experience: Relatedness and Self-Definition in Personality Development, Psychopathology, and the Therapeutic Process “revolutionary,” and argues, “Sidney Blatt has offered nothing other than a paradigmatic conception of the self.”  He also notes “Blatt…clearly takes the stand that the lack of cohesive unification in DSM–IV, the forced and arbitrary demarcation between normal and pathological, is wrongheaded. To that end, I highly recommend this volume to the architects of DSM–V as they would do well to take note of what is found here.”  What’s the likelihood this will happen?

Read the Review
ReviewA Dialectical Psychology: Implications for Research and Practice
By Louis Rothschild
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2008 Vol 53(35)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Do Violent Media Games Really Contribute to Youth Violence?

APA In his review of two important books on the influence of media games on violence, Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Do and Media Violence and Aggression: Science and Ideology, Christopher Ferguson is critical of media violence reports by both the American Psychological Association and the American Pediatrics Association, arguing "we have merely replaced the folk-devils of the past with new folk-devils—television and particularly video games in recent decades. As happened generations ago, obliging social scientists who are part of the ‘elder’ establishment produce ‘research’ in support of these panics," and that "the pages and pages of theory, both in discussing antimedia theory and alternative philosophical views, can leave one shaking one's head, ruing psychology's love of theory over substance. Indeed, antimedia theories become simultaneously so complex and illusory that they become impossible to falsify, which is why statements suggesting that the precipitous decline in violence in the United States and other nations is unimportant are treated seriously rather than as the pseudoscience that they are."

Other respected scholars such as Craig Anderson at the Iowa State University’s Center for the Study of Violence disagree, and an APA resolution clearly suggests, "[P]laying violent video games may increase aggressive thoughts and aggressive behaviors in children, youth, and young adults."

Is the jury still out on the effects of media violence on children, or do the two books reviewed last week put the issue to rest?

Read the Review
ReviewClosing the Door on the Media Violence Hypothesis?
By Christopher Ferguson
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2008 Vol 53(35)

Editor of PsycCRITIQUES

Danny Wedding, PhD

Chair of Behavioral Sciences,
College of Medicine,
American University of Antigua

Associate Editors of PsycCRITIQUES

Related Links

Bookmark and Share

Send Feedback

rss Subscribe to the Blog

rss Subscribe via FeedBurner

Subscribe to Blog Updates via Email Here…