Description: This book describes psychological testing in reference to child custody evaluations. Both theoretical foundation and actual test usage are given fair discussion. It concludes with a point-counterpoint of the Ackerman-Schoendorf Scales for Parent Evaluation of Custody (ASPECT). "Psychological Testing in Child Custody Evaluations has been co-published simultaneously as Journal of Child Custody, Volume 2, Numbers 1/2 2005" (introductory page, unnumbered).
Purpose: According to the editors, the purpose is as follows: "This volume addresses the subject of testing. The articles can be divided into three sections. The first section concerns theoretical and test usage issues. ...The articles in the second section of this volume focus on the use of the MMPI-2 and the Rorschach Inkblot Test in the child custody context. ...The third section presents a point-counterpoint discussion of The Ackerman-Schoendorf Scales for Parent Evaluation of Custody (ASPECT). ...This volume is not exhaustive or representative of the use of psychological testing in child custody evaluations which would involve dozens of authors writing hundreds, if not thousands, of pages to address the myriad issues associated with psychological testing in a child custody evaluation. Future special issues of the Journal of Child Custody may address not only these issues, but other complex issues associated with the methods and procedures used in child custody evaluations" (pp. 1-2). Those are worthy objectives. The book met the editors' objectives.
Audience: The editors do not really say who the target audience is. In my judgment, the book is written for forensic psychologists, psychiatrists, lawyers, and others involved in forensic matters. Students who aspire to do forensic work will benefit greatly also. The editors and contributors are credible authorities in the subject matter of the book.
Features: This book is divided into three parts: A. theory and psychometric principles B. using the MMPI-2 and Rorschach Inkblot Test in child custody evaluations C. point-counterpoint of ASPECT (The Ackerman-Schoendorf Scales for Parent Evaluation of Custody) This book is straight-forward, easy to read, and really covers the ground it should. I really enjoyed the chapter titled: "The Responsible Use of Psychological Testing in Child Custody Evaluations: Selection of Tests" by James Flen because he writes so well and sets the stage for understanding the legal issues inherent to forensic hearings such as FRE (Federal Rules of Evidence) and the Frye and Daubert rulings over the years. The Rorschach chapters are interesting to learn how the data it produces relates to the question of child custody. There are no obvious shortcomings of the book. However, I would have liked to have seen clinical vignettes.
Assessment: I enjoyed this volume. It covers the ground you expect and it is written by individuals who have extensive experience in the forensic process. However, it really only covers three psychological tests: MMPI-2, Rorschach Inkblot Test, and the ASPECT. In addition, the authors do not provide clinical examples which could help to illuminate the concepts. For those individuals with no experience in the field of child custody, this is a valuable resource. More seasoned veterans may want a more comprehensive text.