Review by Choice Review
An important publishing event in psychology, this encyclopedia was developed by the American Psychology Association and Oxford University Press under the editorship of Kazdin (Yale). A large editorial board was involved in choosing topics and deciding on their scope, thrust, and focus. Articles cover all areas of psychology and the related fields of sociology, social work, nursing, and allied health. The aim was not to resolve issues but to clarify them and point out their significance and implications. Over 1,400 contributors wrote the 1,500 entries and nearly 400 biographies, which range in length from 500 to 7,000 words. Entries are signed, arranged alphabetically, have cross-references, and include bibliographies of resources as recent as 1998. The essays are written by experts (e.g., Icek Ajzen on "Theory of Reasoned Action" and Craig Anderson on "Violence and Aggression"). The level of writing, intended for professionals, will challenge beginning psychology students and general readers. Both Encyclopedia of Psychology, ed. by Raymond J Corsini (CH, Sep'94), and Encyclopedia of Human Behavior, ed. by V.S. Ramachandran (CH, Oct'94), continue to be valuable and will complement Kazdin's work. Ramachandran provides 250 broader essays with glossaries, and has a narrower scope; Corsini (2,000 entries) is more similar to Kazdin. Comparisons of topics show that large libraries will need all three. Corsini supplies a column-long entry for "James-Lange Theory of Emotions," while Kazdin's index leads to two sentences about the theory in the three-page entry on William James. Corsini's entry for James runs less than a column and has no bibliography. Ramachandran's nine and a half-page essay on war focuses on its origins and evolution, while Kazdin's five pages discuss war's effects on the general population and on military personnel. Kazdin discusses agoraphobia on nine pages scattered among the articles "Anxiety," "Anxiety disorders," "Behavior therapy," "Fear and terror," "Panic disorder," and "Taste," while Ramachandran devotes a 12-page essay to "Agoraphobia," and Corsini has neither an article nor index entries. Impressive and authoritative, Kazdin is highly recommended for all academic and research-oriented public libraries. J. E. Sheets; Baylor University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review
This joint effort of the American Psychological Association and Oxford University Press has more than 1,500 alphabetically arranged, signed entries, including nearly 400 biographies. Eight years in the works, it was edited by Alan E. Kazdin (psychology, Yale) and reflects the efforts of some 1,400 contributors. A veritable who's who in psychology and its related disciplines forms the panel of editors and writers. The field of psychology is interdisciplinary, drawing from medicine, sociology, law, and philosophy, among other areas, in its study of myriad issues. The overarching goal of the editors, APA, and Oxford was to produce a thorough encyclopedia that encompassed all recognized approaches and issues and took into account both current and historical theory and practice, with a look at possible future directions. Some of the many dimensions of psychology covered by the essays include psychology as a discipline (including its development, theories, and professional issues and organizations); research methods, design, and analysis; assessment; biological and cognitive processes; personal, interpersonal, and social processes; interactive systems, such as community and family; life-span development; cultural psychology; adjustment and clinical dysfunction; interventions; and the relation of psychology to other disciplines. By using the "Synoptic Outline of Contents" in the last volume, the reader can find all articles related to one of these dimensions or its subtopics. For example, under "Development across the Life Span," there are listed primary field surveys (e.g., Gerontology, Pediatric psychology), principal entries on life stages (e.g., Adolescence, Infancy), and supporting entries on related issues (e.g., Attachment theory, Divorce, Moral development). An International Advisory Board of editors oversaw the international scope of the content, reflected not only in survey articles on psychology in various countries but also in all entries for which international research and cultural issues have relevance. Longer articles, such as the primary field surveys that provide overviews of major areas in the field of psychology, may run to 25 or more pages. They are divided into subsections, each written by a different contributor. The essays are remarkably even in structure and style and taken together form a cohesive whole. The reader who delves into the general articles on psychology and then goes on to read Clinical psychology, Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis, and School psychology will find that the articles complement and expand upon one another. In each case, the text offers a definition and history of the field, major areas of concern, training requirements, professional organizations, and future directions. Shorter articles may be a page or two in length, such as most of the biographies, or three to ten pages for more focused topics (e.g., Counseling process and outcome, Job stress, Rape, Spain). Essays that explore the history of the study of psychology in individual countries generally cover developments in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, reflecting the field's status as a relatively young science. The country's key figures, institutions, trends, and theories are discussed. Dozens of professional associations and societies are described in terms of history, purpose, and structure. Biographies (deceased individuals only, apparently) trace the individual's career and major influences, discuss general theoretical issues surrounding the body of work, and note controversies and how the work relates to that of others, both within and outside the research community. References to the author's works are cited, as appropriate; and a selected bibliography, divided into sections of works by and about the person, is appended. Readers seeking a quick summary of someone's main theories and half-remembered details from Psych 101 may occasionally be disappointed. For discussion of theories and principles, it's best to go directly to those articles. For instance, although the article on B. F. Skinner notes his "seminal laboratory research on operant conditioning," one has to check the separate article on operant conditioning to get an actual description of that research and the operant-conditioning chamber (popularly called the "Skinner box") he developed that made it possible. Facts that might make it into other reference books, such as Lawrence Kohlberg's 1987 suicide, are omitted, presumably because the primary editorial focus is upon the psychologist's contributions to the field. The writing is scholarly, and many articles demand a certain familiarity with discipline-specific terminology and language patterns used in psychology, philosophy, sociology, physiology, etc., as well as a thorough grounding in the scientific research process, to be fully comprehensible. On the other hand, the majority of articles will be easily understood by the patron at the college level and up. Overall quality of entries is excellent. Some articles, such as Phrenology, jump to analysis without first providing a definition of the topic under consideration. Controversial topics such as Prescription privileges and Right to refuse treatment are treated in balanced and enlightening essays. All entries have bibliographies that will direct the reader to essential articles, chapters, and books. Cited materials are often from the 1990s (with even a few from 2000), but seminal works from earlier in the twentieth century and before are always listed when appropriate. Web sites are occasionally, but not consistently, listed in bibliographies. For headwords patrons are likely to seek, see references are excellent. There are no cross-references within the text of articles, but some articles begin or end with a bracketed paragraph noting related articles. Other articles, especially biographies, conclude with a bracketed note stating that many of the people mentioned are themselves subjects of main entries. The cumulative index in the final volume is sufficiently detailed, with main entries indicated in bold type. A look at other general psychology encyclopedias shows that the approach of this new set is quite different. Its articles are more scholarly and inclusive than those in Raymond J. Corsini's four-volume Encyclopedia of Psychology (Wiley, 1984, 1994), which has been a standard for the last 15 years and will be published in its third edition later this year. Corsini will still be essential in reference work, because it has many useful, specific entries not found in Kazdin, as well as biographies of living psychologists; and some patrons may prefer its language and the relative brevity of its entries. The all-encompassing scope and superior scholarship of Kazdin's Encyclopedia of Psychology make it an essential acquisition for most academic institutions as well as large public libraries with ample collections in psychology. Reference Books in Brief The following is a list of additional recent and recommended reference sources.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.