Clinical assessment of child and adolescent personality and behaviour by Frick, Barry, & Kamphaus (fourth edition) – Chapter 13 summary

History taking is essential in child psychological assessment for several reasons:

  • It allows the clinician to conceptualize a case by providing information about the developmental course of the child’s difficulties.
  • It provides information on the specific presentation of the individual child’s difficulties.
  • It provides information on risk and protective factors.
  • It provides information on important contextual influences on the child’s functioning.

It consists of several aspects:

  • Age of onset
    This is crucial for diagnosis and conceptualization.
  • Course and prognosis
    This is used to assess the stability of symptoms and to determine whether contextual factors play a primary role.
  • Impairment
    This gives information on impairment experiences in daily life and environmental consequences of the problems.
  • Aetiology
    This gives information on a potential diagnosis or effective interventions.
  • Family psychiatric history
    This is crucial as it can impact the age of onset (1), differential diagnosis (2) and treatment (3)
  • Previous assessment/treatment/intervention
    This can be used in guiding interpretation of current findings (e.g. more severe symptoms than in the past despite having received treatment indicates the need for more intensive treatment) and can guide future treatment options. It can also focus the attention on comorbid disorders.
  • Contextual factors
    This is crucial as it may influence the course of the problems or may explain the aetiology.

It is important to take the goodness of fit between the child’s characteristics and the context into account in which one is expected to function. The content of history taking often includes complaints/symptoms (1), developmental history (2), family history (3), social functioning (4), academic functioning (5), family relations (6), interests and strengths (7) and views of the problem (8).

Genograms refer to a family tree that allows the clinician to document the family structure (1), the relationships among family members (2), critical events (3) and any particular variables of interest (4). It presents information graphically in a manner that is quickly interpreted.

There are several behaviours that should be observed by the clinician during history taking:

  • Perspiration, blushing, paling.
  • Controlled, uneven or blocked speech.
  • Plaintive voice or talking in a whisper.
  • Posture.
  • Tics.
  • Affirmative nodding or negative shaking of the head.
  • A sudden glance at the interviewer after a statement
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Summaries & Study Note of JesperN
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“Clinical Skills: Developmental Psychology – Course summary (UNIVERSITY OF AMSTERDAM)"

This bundle contains everything you need to know for the course "Clinical Skills: Developmental Psychology" given at the University of Amsterdam. It contains all the lectures and the following chapters of the books:

Clinical assessment


Clinical assessment of child and adolescent personality and behaviour by Frick, Barry, & Kamphaus (fourth edition) – Book summary

This bundle contains a summary of the following chapters of the book "Clinical assessment of child and adolescent personality and behaviour by Frick, Barry, & Kamphaus (fourth edition)": 2, 3, 4, 5, 13, 15, 16.