There is no Such Thing as a Child

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Scandinavian Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology

Psychiatric Research Unit, Region Zealand

Ole Jakob Storebø

Subject: Medicine

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eISSN: 2245-8875

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VOLUME 2 , ISSUE 3 (May 2014) > List of articles

There is no Such Thing as a Child

Ole Jakob Storebø / Pernille Darling Rasmussen / Sven Bölte

Citation Information : Scandinavian Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology. Volume 2, Issue 3, Pages 93-94, DOI: https://doi.org/10.21307/sjcapp-2014-013

License : (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Published Online: 30-November-2013

ARTICLE

ABSTRACT

Winnicott’s assertion that young children do not exist independently but rather function in relationship to their primary caregivers (1) is the focus of the first four papers in this issue. His idea underlines the attachment between a mother and her child as well as the importance of the child’s family environment. Parents and their offspring are connected in an intimate way, and mothers and fathers can be both the causes and the cures of psychological problems within their children. Before the predominance of biological psychiatry, attachment and family factors were viewed as the most important components of the theoretical foundations of child and adolescent psychiatry in Scandinavia. Much of child psychopathology was attributed to psychodynamic processes (2,3). However, it seems that a slight paradigm shift back toward more of a focus on the child within the family may be occurring. This may offer a more balanced view of the child and his or her problems that does not neglect the importance of parenting and the family. The four articles presented here all tackle family relationships and the interactions between children and their parents.

The first article by Bendiksen and colleagues discusses the Mother and Child Cohort Study, a prospective study (N = 807) that looked at the early identification of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in young children (4). The authors show that added burdens and problems within family relationships were associated with more ADHD symptoms as measured by parental rating scales. This may well indicate early emerging coercive cycles and therefore be an important target for early prevention and intervention strategies. It is difficult to state anything causal here, but this research is important, because it indicates detectable early signs of ADHD in very small children.

The association between ADHD and attachment has been demonstrated in many studies on many different levels and the research on the topic of attachment is again increasing in Scandinavia (5). For instance, in the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Department in Region Zealand, Denmark, a coming observational follow-up study will examine whether parents’ attachment competencies are important to treatment response and prognosis in children with ADHD.

The second article in this issue deals with the risk for suicide among adolescents. Petersen and Elklit review the Faroese Adolescent Trauma Study (N = 687), which provided important data about the roles of attachment, negative affectivity, and social support in suicide attempts in a total population of Faroese adolescents (6). The authors’ results show the necessity of taking gender into account when researching risk and protective factors for suicide attempts and when establishing arrangements to prevent and treat suicide attempts among adolescents.

The study by Esbjørn and colleagues explores the relationship between maternal and paternal perceptions of parenting and childhood anxiety (7). The perceived rearing behaviors and the parental sense of competence (i.e., satisfaction and efficacy) of the parents of anxious children (n = 59) were compared with those of a nonclinical control sample (n = 44). In line with the findings from the literature that addresses externalizing disorders, it was found that the parental sense of competence was significantly associated with childhood outcomes.

Finally, in the article by Alves and colleagues, the association between parental achievement values and emotional problems among preadolescent children was mediated by parents’ comparisons with their own achievement values (8). Higher levels of parental achievement values were associated with more comparisons, and this relationship was stronger for preadolescents with immigrant backgrounds. Comparisons were only linked to emotional problems among preadolescents with immigrant backgrounds.

All four of these articles highlight the considerable complexity of researching psychopathology in children and adolescents as well as the critical importance of understanding children within the context of their family units. Among other things, this means that it is necessary to look at the parents’ level of functioning and parental perceptions of their own abilities and opportunities in relation to the children’s well-being. Moreover, when studying children, the importance of taking factors such as age and gender into consideration is vital.

On a more general note with regard to the development of the Scandinavian Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology (SJCAPP), we are happy to be experiencing increased interest in our journal. This has been indicated by the fact that articles published in this journal are beginning to be cited; we also are receiving an increasing amount of submissions.

At the moment, we are preparing an application to have SJCAPP indexed in the large databases. Most of these services require indexed journals to have at least two years of publishing activity, and we have now reached that point. Thus, we are hopeful that SJCAPP will soon be indexed in Thomas Reuter, with its first official impact factor calculated three years thereafter. In the meantime, we will have an unofficial impact factor calculated in the spring of 2016.

One of the upcoming special issues of SJCAPP will focus on attachment and the development of psychopathology. Later this year, our dear readers can look forward to a special issue about personality disorder, with Mickey Kongerslev and Erik Simonsen serving as its editors. Next spring, a special issue about psychosis created in conjunction with Ulrik Haahr and Sune Bo will be published; we have just sent out a call for papers for that issue.

References


  1. Winnicott DW. The maturational processes and the facilitating environment. Studies in the theory of emotional development. London: Hogarth Press Books Ltd., 1965.
  2. Bowlby J. A Secure Base: Clinical applications of attachment theory. London: Routledge, 1988.
  3. Thomsen PH (ed). Børne- og ungdomspsykiatrien i Danmark gennem 50 år. Et jubilæumsskrift. Børne- og Ungdomspsykiatrisk selskab i Danmark [50 years of child and adolescent psychiatry in Denmark] Avaialable from: http://bupnet.dk/media/03-10-29-FestSkrift[1].pdf
    [PUBMED] [URL]
  4. Bendiksen B, Aase H, Svensson E, et al. Symptoms of ADHD and co-occurring oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder in young preschool children; the impact on functional impairment. Scand J Child Adolesc Psychiatr Psychol 2014;2(3):95-105.
  5. Storebø OJ, Skoog M, Rasmussen PD, et al. Attachment competences in children with ADHD during the Social-Skills Training and Attachment (SOSTRA) randomized clinical trial. J Atten Disord 2014;Feb 14 Epub.
    [CROSSREF]
  6. Petersen T, Elklit A. Risk factors for suicide attempts in the total population of Faroese eighth graders Scand J Child Adolesc Psychiatr Psychol 2014;2(3):106-14.
  7. Esbjørn BH, Caspersen ID, Sømhovd MJ, Breinholst S, Reinholdt-Dunne M. Exploring the contribution of parental perceptions to childhood anxiety. Scand J Child Adolesc Psychiatr Psychol 2014;2(3):115-23.
  8. Alves DE, Gustavson K, Roysamb E, Oppedal B, Zachrisson HD. Preadolescents with immigrant backgrounds: the relationship between emotional problems, parental achievement values, and comparison. Scand J Child Adolesc Psychiatr Psychol 2014:2(3):124-34-
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REFERENCES

  1. Winnicott DW. The maturational processes and the facilitating environment. Studies in the theory of emotional development. London: Hogarth Press Books Ltd., 1965.
  2. Bowlby J. A Secure Base: Clinical applications of attachment theory. London: Routledge, 1988.
  3. Thomsen PH (ed). Børne- og ungdomspsykiatrien i Danmark gennem 50 år. Et jubilæumsskrift. Børne- og Ungdomspsykiatrisk selskab i Danmark [50 years of child and adolescent psychiatry in Denmark] Avaialable from: http://bupnet.dk/media/03-10-29-FestSkrift[1].pdf
    [PUBMED] [URL]
  4. Bendiksen B, Aase H, Svensson E, et al. Symptoms of ADHD and co-occurring oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder in young preschool children; the impact on functional impairment. Scand J Child Adolesc Psychiatr Psychol 2014;2(3):95-105.
  5. Storebø OJ, Skoog M, Rasmussen PD, et al. Attachment competences in children with ADHD during the Social-Skills Training and Attachment (SOSTRA) randomized clinical trial. J Atten Disord 2014;Feb 14 Epub.
    [CROSSREF]
  6. Petersen T, Elklit A. Risk factors for suicide attempts in the total population of Faroese eighth graders Scand J Child Adolesc Psychiatr Psychol 2014;2(3):106-14.
  7. Esbjørn BH, Caspersen ID, Sømhovd MJ, Breinholst S, Reinholdt-Dunne M. Exploring the contribution of parental perceptions to childhood anxiety. Scand J Child Adolesc Psychiatr Psychol 2014;2(3):115-23.
  8. Alves DE, Gustavson K, Roysamb E, Oppedal B, Zachrisson HD. Preadolescents with immigrant backgrounds: the relationship between emotional problems, parental achievement values, and comparison. Scand J Child Adolesc Psychiatr Psychol 2014:2(3):124-34-

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