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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Jay P. Goldsmith, MD (Tulane University School of Medicine)
Description: This book is the source of the most comprehensive evaluation of newborn behavior and interaction between parents and their newborn infant. This edition is not significantly different from previous editions published over the last 35 years (third edition was published in 1995), except for some minor changes in the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS), a few added case histories, the use of the scale in various settings, and a review of research using the scale.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide an instructional guide on the administration and scoring of the NBAS. Despite the fact that it takes significant training and at least 20 minutes to perform, it is widely recognized as the most comprehensive evaluation of newborn behavior. This is a worthy goal since this type of evaluation is necessary in many settings — to evaluate the effects of treatments or drugs, to help parents with babies who have difficulties in the neonatal period, and a host of other practical and research uses.
Audience: The book is intended for caretakers of the newborn infant, from physicians to nurses and child psychologists. It may be especially important to researchers studying the effects of various influences on the newly born such as drugs, environment, pregnancy complications, etc. The authors are the world's authorities on this scale since they developed it over 35 years ago.
Features: The major focus of the book is a review of the administration and scoring of the NBAS with excellent pictures illustrating many of the procedures. This is followed by chapters dedicated to the use of the scale in research and various settings with several case histories of newborns with abnormal behavior and interventions. These were mainly anecdotal, and the book presents no evidence that the use of the scale to detect behavioral abnormalities with subsequent intervention statistically improved childhood outcomes. Such a study would make the instrument more important for pediatricians and others to use.
Assessment: This is the single original source for this comprehensive newborn behavioral scale. Other books may refer to the NBAS and even give an abbreviated version of its administration and scoring, but clinicians and researchers wishing to use the NBAS should learn how to do it from the people who created it.