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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Martin T. Stein, MD (UCSD Medical Center)
Description: The specialty of developmental and behavioral pediatrics connects clinical observations of infants and children with the fields of psychology, psychiatry, and anthropology. In this book the editors integrate what is known about crying from the perspective of clinician and scientist. This is a comprehensive text on crying in infants and young children during health and illness.
Purpose: The editors' purpose is to bring together clinical and nonclinical information about crying. This is an extraordinarily important contribution in that they alert knowledgeable clinicians to the basic science of crying and inform the scientist about clinical values and meanings of crying. The editors meet their objectives by including contributors from a wide variety of disciplines. The information is timely and the references are up to date.
Audience: Pediatricians, clinical psychologists, and developmental psychologists are the target audience. Pediatricians and neonatologists will find the book particularly interesting. Students, residents, and general practitioners may use the text as a reference source. The editors are recognized experts in the field, and the contributors have strong backgrounds as well.
Features: Infant crying is reviewed in detail as an indication of pain, in the context of colic, as a sign of acute/chronic illness, and as a special problem in the child with a disability. Chapters on acoustic analysis of crying and crying in infant primates add a strong scientific dimension to the book. The editors have carefully selected clear tables, graphs, and photographs to highlight important topics. Their approach to colic (causes and outcomes) brings creative clinical insights and tools to pediatric clinicians.
Assessment: This is an outstanding book for clinicians and scientists with an interest in variations and meanings of crying in infants and young children. It is an in-depth study of crying as a form of communication, a sign of maturation, and a modification of infant behavior at the time of health and disease. The contributors are all experts in their fields with both a clinical and scientific foundation. This is the only book in the field. I suspect that it will secure a position as a classic in the study of crying.