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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Christopher J Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: This update of a classic textbook on abnormal psychology comes approximately three years after the previous edition with many changes and updates.
Purpose: The aim is to provide students a critical introduction to abnormal psychology, covering the complexities of our evolving knowledge on the topic in a manner that is still comprehensible at an introductory level.
Audience: The primary audience is undergraduate students in psychology and related fields. The authors are well known and accomplished researchers.
Features: This edition comes with some major changes. First, there are the updated references and information, as well as new references. Second, suggestions from students and professors have been integrated into this edition, such as introducing Clinical Case Boxes to give readers a real-life, clinical flavor of the disorder. Third, the authors have restructured the book to incorporate information about treatments with each of the disorders rather than in separate chapters at the end of the book. The final major renovation is the inclusion of information regarding upcoming DSM-5 changes and how that relates to our understanding of psychological disorders. Nevertheless, the timing of this edition before DSM-5 is officially released is questionable given the authors' inclination to include it as a major new component that may or may not hold true in the final publication. The chapters have copious pictures, illustrations, tables, and other full-color graphics. There are summary bullets, side notes, case examples, and the above-mentioned instructive boxes that make this student-friendly. The major flaw in this book is the inaccurate or incomplete coverage of various disorders. For example, the authors report studies that show verbal memory impairment in individuals with PTSD, but studies with those findings fail to account for performance validity issues. They also misrepresent the DSM-5 trauma criteria for PTSD as being more restrictive, while in fact some of the criteria relax and expand the definition. The chapter on suicide is lacking in any references to two preeminent suicide researchers, one of whom has recently presented paradigm-shifting data on the inferiority of accepted inpatient treatment for suicidal patients compared to newly developed outpatient models. Additionally, there are misidentified medications (e.g., the brand name for risperidone is listed as Clozapine), and the chapter on dementias erroneously states that 80 percent of individuals with Parkinson's disease develop dementia with Lewy bodies (incidentally without a reference). These are but a few of the problems in this book.
Assessment: While the authors have done an admirable job creating and organizing an effective learning tool in a diverse and complex field, and the bulk of the information will serve students well, the inaccuracy of a notable amount of information is keenly disappointing for naive, beginning learners who will take it as fact simply because of the authoritative context.