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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Richelle Strauss, MD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: Mental health issues (developmental, psychological, biological), recent research, and access to mental healthcare in young adults (ages 18-29) is the focus of this book, which aims to address what the authors feel is a neglected population.
Purpose: The book explores the psychological and neurobiological development of young adults, the effect of mental illness on this development, the available research on mental illness in this population, healthy psychological development, and issues challenging access to care in this group.
Audience: Clinicians, the author's intended audience, would likely find this information most helpful. The level of detail in the discussion of the neurobiological basis of adolescent development is slightly beyond the usual interest and knowledge base of the average resident, although a particularly interested fellow may be grateful to get this information so coherently in one place. Likewise, detailed summaries of available evidence are presented very conveniently for the perusal of busy clinicians but are not limited to the usual core material recommended to those still in training. The organization of the book into essentially four sections comprehensively covers topics of interest for any clinician providing mental health services to young adults.
Features: The first section of three chapters is concerned with the transition from adolescence to adulthood and includes neurobiological and psychological development discussions. The eight chapters in the second section discuss healthy psychological development, including sexuality, intimacy and relationships, marriage, parenting, body image, and gender differences. The briefest segment, the third, deals with access to care issues. The final section is a series of chapters each exploring a different child and adolescent psychiatric disorder with a summary of recent evidence and treatment discussions. Some chapters do not fit neatly into one of these four sections, and often prove to be even more interesting, such as the chapter entitled, "Developmental Pathways to Parenting," which explores case studies of two adolescent girls, initially childhood friends, from puberty to parenthood, and discusses the psychological issues contributing to their divergent paths as well as the available evidence on this specific subject.
Assessment: This book offers a very detailed but well-written exploration of the developmental issues, available evidence, and treatment of psychiatric issues of young adults. I agree with the author's impression that this appears to be a neglected population in general. In an environment increasingly demanding of clinicians' time, this book may be sought out only by those with a special interest in this age group, but it would likely be helpful to any clinicians dealing with this population.