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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: William Scheftner, MD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This book came out of a 1993 NATO conference and has been edited by three behavioral scientists. It summarizes and discusses the current state of knowledge in schizotypal personality disorder and schizophrenia spectrum disorders, focusing on definition, assessment, genetics, neurodevelopement, psychophysiology, neuropsychology, and brain imaging.
Purpose: The four purposes, as stated in the preface, are (1) to provide a comprehensive overview of current knowledge in schizotypal personality disorder; (2) to highlight important conceptual and methodological problems; (3) to view schizotypal personality research in the wider context of schizophrenia; and (4) to present both the dimensional and categorical approach to the subject. The stated purposes are very important because mental health research focuses on the etiology of schizophrenia and related conditions. The objectives are well attained with the self- acknowledged absence of material on treatment, EEG, event-related potentials, and psychopharmacology.
Audience: The book is clearly aimed at mental health research scientists, serious students of schizophrenia and schizotypal personality disorder, and those interested in a model for the study of personality disorders in general. The clinician will find much interesting material but little on which to change practice except as a better understanding of the problem provides. The individual authors and editors are well recognized within mental health research.
Features: The tables are easily read, and although a few of the bar graphs should have used contrasting patterns, they are nevertheless decipherable. The individual chapter bibliographies and references are pertinent and include some 1994 citations. The separate name and subject indexes appear complete. The overall look is appealing, particularly given its subject matter.
Assessment: This book is probably unique in subject matter, which may justify its steep price. However, its topic coverage is excellent, almost comprehensive, and its authors are world-class authorities. Each chapter is well written and either presents the author's data or clearly refers to supporting citations. The editing has been well done, with appropriate cross references between chapters. In general, the book is very readable, stimulating and recommended reading for any scientist or student who desires a clear introduction to the structure, direction, and problems of research in the area as well as a summary of the current state of knowledge. The only criticism is that a chapter on treatment should have been included to make the book more attractive to a wider audience.