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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Richard A. Carroll, PhD (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)
Description: This book focuses on several aspects of sexuality in children, including normal sexual development, gender identity disorder, sexual abuse, and mental retardation and sexuality. Its emphasis is on the assessment and treatment of childhood sexual abuse.
Purpose: The objectives are to review and update the literature on the topic of childhood sexual abuse and to put this within the broader context of a developmental perspective on children's sexuality. The book focuses on the problems that can arise within the development of a child's sexuality, especially sexual abuse, but it also includes growing up with gay parents, inter-sexuality, gender identity disorders, atypical puberty, sexualized and sexually aggressive behavior, and issues of sexuality in retarded children and adolescents. This book, however, does not add significantly to the already large body of literature on childhood sexual abuse. Its abbreviated treatment of other issues is not particularly helpful.
Audience: This book was written for mental health professionals who specialize in work with children, especially child psychologists. It may be useful to students in these areas, but would not be particularly valuable for experienced professionals who work with children. The authors' backgrounds are primarily in sex education for children and pediatric psychology.
Features: The book includes several useful tables outlining various aspects of assessment and treatment of sexual abuse, and issues related to sex education.
Assessment: This book, unfortunately, does not live up to its ambitious title in that it does not present a coherent picture of the development of child sexuality or its problems. Instead, it is primarily a review of the literature on sexual abuse with several other problem areas thrown in, with no organizing principle. It does, however, offer succinct overviews of the areas of sexual abuse, gender disorders, and retardation and sexuality that may make it worthwhile to students in the areas of child mental health.