Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Guide

Child Psychiatry

Shin-Bey Chang, M.D., Roma Vasa, M.D.
Child Psychiatry is a topic covered in the Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Guide.

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DEFINITION

  • Child psychiatry is centered on the assessment, treatment, and prevention of mental health problems in children and adolescents.
    • Unfortunately, children and adolescents can experience significant difficulties in emotion regulation, cognition, and behavior that cause marked impairments in functioning.
  • Interest in childhood development first emerged in the 18th century.
    • French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s major novel, Émile, focused on the physical, emotional, and social development of children through education [1].
  • In the latter half of the 19th century, European psychiatrists including Emminghaus, Manheimer, and Moreau de Tours described childhood psychopathology based upon diagnostic classifications created for adults [2].
  • In 1930, the first academic child psychiatry department was founded by Dr. Leo Kanner, under the direction of Dr. Adolf Meyer, at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Kanner wrote the first English-language textbook in the field titled Child Psychiatry in 1935 and was also a pioneer in describing the clinical syndrome of autism [3].
  • Child and adolescent psychiatry emerged as an established medical specialty in 1953 through the founding of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry [1].
    • The organization is now known as the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

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Last updated: November 6, 2014