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Branch of medicine concerned with mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders of childhood. It arose as a separate field in the 1920s, largely because of the pioneering work of Anna Freud. Therapy usually involves the family, whose behaviour powerfully affects children's emotional health. Parental death or divorce may affect a child's emotional growth. Child abuse and neglect have also been recognized as significant in childhood disorders. Learning disabilities need to be distinguished from emotional problemswhich they can also cause if not diagnosed in time.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on child psychiatry, visit Britannica.com.