Reviewed Books & Films

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September 2015

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Isn't Prevention Preferable to Treatment of Alcohol Abuse?


Cecile A. Marczinski’s review of Binge Drinking and Alcohol Misuse Among College Students and Young Adults, by Rachel P. Winograd and Kenneth J. Sher, notes that the book is a valuable resource guide for the assessment and treatment of alcohol abuse. While treatment of alcohol abuse is certainly needed, many health professionals now emphasize prevention. It is less expensive and probably easier. Frederick Douglass said, "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." What can we do to prevent our youth from starting to drink alcohol in the first place? What are the best practices? What other persons or entities should get involved besides parents?

Read the Review
ReviewHelping Young People Drink Less: Empirically Based Strategies to Reduce Alcohol-Related Harm
      By Cecile A. Marczinski
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2015 Vol 60(34)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Should Psychologists Enter the Fray to End Corporal Punishment in Schools?


From Corporal Punishment in U.S. Public Schools: Legal Precedents, Current Practices, and Future Policy, by Elizabeth T. Gershoff, Kelly M. Purtell, and Igor Holas, we learn that corporal punishment (CP) is currently still a legal  disciplinary option in 19 states in the United States and in private schools in 48 states. In a given year, approximately 220,000 children are subjected to CP at school with approximately, 10,000 to 20,000 students a year requiring medical attention. Most school CP involves hitting a child or adolescent (from preschool through high school) on the behind with a wooden paddle.

The authors convey what science clearly tells us: CP is ineffective and harmful to children, and there are effective, evidence-based interventions that schools could be using instead to promote positive behavior. Given this, reviewer Alan Kazdin suggests that “moving into advocacy and saying 'should' to the public goes beyond what science is intended to accomplish and what scientists are uniquely trained to do. . .if we want to eliminate the use of CP and the violence and antisocial behavior that CP often begets, perhaps scientists cannot stay out of the fray” (para. 9).

Do you agree with Kazdin that given the harmful nature of CP, scientists cannot stay out of the fray? What role do you think psychologists should play in helping to end corporal punishment in schools?

Read the Review
ReviewWe Have Hit Bottom by Using Corporal Punishment in the Schools
By Alan E. Kazdin
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2015 Vol 60(34)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

All Booked Up?


In his review of Naomi Baron’s recent book Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World, David Simpson suggests that Baron

makes compelling arguments that though digital reading devices have many advantages (convenience, open access, potential cost savings) they may be more suitable for skimming rather than reading in depth, for power browsing rather than reading and rereading in depth. (para. 5)

Do you agree?  Why or why not?  Are traditional printed books soon to be a thing of the past, or are they here forever?

Read the Review
ReviewLong Live the Printed Book: Lego, Ergo Sum!
By David D. Simpson
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2015 Vol 60(32)

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Why a Woman Doesn’t Reveal Her Age


In her review of Women and Aging: An International, Intersectional Power Perspective, Carol A. Gosselink notes our sexist, ageist culture, but indicats the need to consider the intersections of gender and age with economics, politics, race/ethnicity, religion, and so forth. Gosselink goes on to point out how these intersections “produce privilege and power differentials that disadvantage women in their later years compared with younger women and men of all ages” (para. 1). So, what does successful aging, defined as satisfaction with past and present life (Bowling & Dieppe, 2005), look like for women compared to men?

Gosselink discusses how Women and Aging highlights the variety in the aging experiences of women, while “offering insights and strategies for empowering women” (para. 1).  The review notes that it is not certain to what extent and which women are empowered to live satisfactory lives as they age. For example, older women with inherited wealth, pension income, or sufficient earnings during their working lives as well as low health burdens are able to avoid poverty. Ethnic minority women, whose beauty is marginalized by society in youth, may be more likely than majority women to be perceived as undesirable as they age.  Are the generation of women who have fought for control of their reproductive lives, as well as the freedom to explore their sexuality, as empowered to and applauded for maintaining vibrant sex lives as their male counterparts? Does a woman hide her age and continue with the life desired, pursue the employment options set aside for aging women, or gracefully take on the traditional grandmother, caregiver, and nurturer roles that society expects? 

What strategies, interventions, and supports are available to increase the likelihood that women are able to live the lives that they desire as opposed to the lives society grants them as they age? How might changes in societal attitudes and perspectives provide important options beyond medical interventions to improve appearance and repair those parts and aspects of women’s bodies deemed ugly and dysfunctional by virtue of aging?


Bowling, A., & Dieppe, P. (2005). What is successful ageing and who should define it? BMJ : British Medical Journal331, 1548–1551.
Read the Review
Review“Newer Every Day”? Women’s Aging Revealed, Revised, and Reinvented
By Carol A. Gosselink
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2015 Vol 60(34)

Editor of PsycCRITIQUES

Danny Wedding, PhD

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

Associate Editors of PsycCRITIQUES

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