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Introduction to Abnormal Child and Adolescent Psychology

Introduction to Abnormal Child and Adolescent Psychology

Third Edition
Additional resources:

February 2017 | 688 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Fully revised and updated to increase student engagement, the Third Edition reflects the latest advancements in the field, including complete DSM–5 criteria, to provide the most comprehensive introduction to abnormal child and adolescent psychopathology. Utilizing a developmental psychopathology approach, the book explores the emergence of disorders over time, describes the risks and protective factors that influence developmental processes and trajectories, and examines child psychopathology in relation to typical development while considering each family’s sociocultural context. Offering current, relevant, and practical scientific information in every chapter, the book helps students develop the understanding they need to make informed decisions about the welfare of their families, schools, communities, and society.

About the Author
1. The Science and Practice of Abnormal Child Psychology
1.1 The Prevalence of Childhood Disorders

1.2 What Is a “Mental Disorder”?

1.3 An Introduction to Developmental Psychopathology

1.4 Integrating Science and Practice

2. The Causes of Childhood Disorders: A Levels of Analysis Approach
2.1 Genetic and Epigenetic Influences on Development

2.2 The Brain and Neurotransmitters

2.3 Learning Theory

2.4 Cognition and Emotion Regulation

2.5 Parents, Families, and Friends

2.6 Culture and Society

3. Assessment and Diagnosis
3.1 Psychological Assessment

3.2 DSM-5 Diagnosis

4. Treating Children, Adolescents, and Families
4.1 Medication

4.2 Systems of Psychotherapy

4.3 Psychotherapy Efficacy and Effectiveness

4.4 Professional Practice and Ethics

5. Intellectual Disability and Developmental Disorders
5.1 Description and Epidemiology

5.2 Causes

5.3 Prevention and Treatment

6. Autism Spectrum Disorder
6.1 Description and Epidemiology

6.2 Causes

6.3 Identification, Prevention, and Treatment

7. Communication and Learning Disorders
7.1 Communication Disorders

7.2 Learning Disabilities and Specific Learning Disorder

8. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
8.1 Description and Epidemiology

8.2 Causes

8.3 Evidence-Based Treatment

9. Conduct Problems in Children and Adolescents
9.1 Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder

9.2 Causes

9.3 Evidence-Based Treatment

10. Substance Use Disorders in Adolescents
10.1 Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders

10.2 Causes

10.3 Evidence-Based Treatment

11. Anxiety Disorders and Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder
11.1 Anxiety Disorders in Childhood and Adolescence

11.2 Obsessive–Compulsive and Related Disorders

11.3 Evidence-Based Treatment

12. Trauma-Related Disorders and Child Maltreatment
12.1 Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

12.2 Social–Emotional Deprivation in Infancy

12.3 Child Abuse and Neglect

13. Depressive Disorders and Suicide
13.1 Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder

13.2 Major Depressive Disorder and Dysthymia

13.3 Suicide

14. Pediatric Bipolar Disorders and Schizophrenia
14.1 Bipolar Disorders in Children and Adolescents

14.2 Pediatric Schizophrenia

15. Feeding and Eating Disorders
15.1 Feeding Disorders in Young Children

15.2 Eating Disorders in Older Children and Adolescents

15.3 Evidence-Based Treatment for Eating Disorders

16. Health-Related Disorders and Pediatric Psychology
16.1 Elimination Disorders

16.2 Sleep–Wake Disorders in Children

16.3 Pediatric Psychology

Appendix: A Primer on Research Methods in Abnormal Child Psychology
How Do Psychological Scientists Study Behavior?

What Are Correlational Studies?

Types of Correlational Studies

What Are Experiments?

What Are Quasi-Experimental Studies?

What Are Single-Subject Studies?



Student Companion Study Site

SAGE edge for Students provides a personalized approach to help students accomplish their coursework goals in an easy-to-use learning environment.

  • Mobile-friendly eFlashcards strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts
  • Mobile-friendly practice quizzes allow for independent assessment by students of their mastery of course material
  • A  customized online action plan includes tips and feedback on progress through the course and materials, which allows students to individualize their learning experience
  • Learning objectives reinforce the most important material
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected to support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter
Instructor's Resource Website

SAGE edge offers a robust online environment featuring an impressive array of tools and resources for review, study, and further exploration, keeping both instructors and students on the cutting edge of teaching and learning. SAGE edge content is open access and available on demand. Learning and teaching has never been easier!


Instructor Resource Site


SAGE edge for Instructors supports teaching by making it easy to integrate quality content and create a rich learning environment for students.

  • Test banks provide a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity to edit any question and/or insert personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding
  • Sample course syllabi for semester and quarter courses provide suggested models for structuring one’s course
  • Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides offer complete flexibility for creating a multimedia presentation for the course
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected to support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter encourage students to think critically
  • Video and multimedia links that appeal to students with different learning styles
  • Lecture notes summarize key concepts by chapter to ease preparation for lectures and class discussions

“The major strength of the text is the inclusion of DSM–5 information—that’s why I chose this book. It is also very comprehensive in its coverage of epidemiology, course, etiology, and comorbidities for each disorder. Students really enjoy the case studies in the text.”


Meredith C. Joppa
Rowan University

“This text is superior to the text that I am currently using. It is much more thorough and incorporates more research into the discussion.”  


Carolyn R. Fallahi
Central Connecticut State University

“I very much like the writing style, tone, and level of this text.”  

Donna B. Pincus
Boston University

“This text, overall, provides much more detail relative to other texts like it. This allows professors to determine the extent to which they would like to discuss a certain topic.”

Jennifer Blossom
University of Kansas
Key features


  • Updated research literature and sections on emerging areas—such as epigenetics and gene-environment correlations, suicide and non-suicidal self-injury in youths, and disorders new to DSM–5—provide students the most up-to-date material in this rapidly changing field of study.
  • A greater focus on the varied presentation and treatment of each disorder as a function of gender, age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status helps students develop a deeper understanding of how issues of diversity impact each disorder.
  • Each chapter is now split into discrete modules to make material more accessible to students, allowing instructors to easily tailor reading assignments to their courses.
  • Modules are divided by research questions such as “How common is autism spectrum disorder?” and “What treatments are effective for toddlers with autism spectrum disorder?” to spark interest and guide student reading.
  • Attention to both psychosocial and pharmacological treatments, including evidence comparing their relative effectiveness and safety, helps students understand the pros and cons of each treatment type.
  • Thorough descriptions of evidence-based psychosocial and pharmacological treatments identified by the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry set the book apart from others currently available.
  • Updated case studies illustrate disorders and enhance student engagement based on real children, adolescents, and families.


  • Detailed case studies and therapy transcripts help students apply empirical evidence and theories to children and families in specific contexts.
  • Critical thinking exercises encourage students to analyze, apply, and summarize information.
  • Extensive discussions on the ways age, gender, and ethnicity can affect the diagnosis, etiology, and treatment of childhood disorders appear throughout the book.
  • Case studies and Research to Practice sections show how mental health providers apply the research literature to help children and families in need.
  • In-text learning aids include learning objectives, section summaries, key terms with definitions, and critical thinking exercises to empower students to master the material. 

Preview this book

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 5

Chapter 7

For instructors

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