Editors: Jonathan S. Comer and Philip C. Kendall

Publisher: Oxford University Press – 459 pages

Book Review by: Nano Khilnani

Professors of psychology write that the material for this book has been contributed by some of the top researchers – a list of Who’s Who in the field.

For example, Steven D. Hollan, a psychology professor at Vanderbilt University, asserts: “Comer and Kendall have assembled some of the leading experts on research design and methodology and provided a thoughtful and practical compendium of the latest strategies for conducting clinical research.”

Others have lavish praise for the editors of this book. Thomas H. Ollendick in the Child Study Center at Virginia Tech, says they “score big on this one…huge, as a matter of fact,” in putting together experts in the use of “innovative strategies in clinical psychology.”

Among other benefits for the student, this book provides comprehensive coverage of:

  • Effective laboratory methods in experimental psychopathology, single-case experimental designs, small pilot trials, the randomized control trial, adaptive and modular treatment designs, and dissemination methods and models
  • Change measurement, observational coding, measurement of process variables across treatment, structural and functional brain imaging, and experience sampling data collection methods
  • Statistical power, correlation and regression, randomized clinical trial data analysis, conventions in mediation and moderation analysis, structural equation modeling, meta-analytic techniques, item-response theory, and the appropriate handling of missing data

The material for the 22 chapters of this book came from 51 contributors in the United States, Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom. They are pediatricians, psychiatrists, psychologists, and specialists in anxiety and related disorders and mental health. The material is organized around the five Parts of this book:

1. Design Strategies for Clinical Psychology
2. Measurement Strategies fro Clinical Psychology
3. Analytic Strategies for Clinical Psychology
4. Matters of Responsible Research Conduct in Clinical Psychology
5. Conclusion

Streamlined organization of content in each chapter makes it easy for the student and practitioner to understand absorb the material. For example, chapter 2 in Part One entitled Laboratory Methods in Experimental Psychopathology, first presents, just as all chapters do, a boxed section with an Abstract and Key Words used in the chapter.

The Abstract defines what experimental psychopathology is, and informs what are the key elements of research in it. The Abstract states that in the first section of this chapter, experimental psychopathology research is explained briefly and its origins are discussed.

The Abstract states that in the second section, the methodological approaches used in this field are presented. In the third section, some of the molar conceptual considerations for assessment approaches in experimental psychopathology research are to be presented.

And in the final section of this chapter, the Abstract informs us, some key challenges in experimental psychopathology research are described and potentially useful recommendations for overcoming those challenges are presented.

In the course of laying out the information, Tables are presented to look at data at a glance. The chapter is concluded with a brief Summary, followed by a list of References.

This is an excellent, very useful book on the design, measurement, and analysis of research strategies in clinical psychology, made possible through the efforts of its editors named below.

Jonathan S. Comer, PhD is Associate Professor of Psychology at Florida International University and the Center for Children and Families.

Philip C. Kendall, PhD, ABPP, Distinguished University Professor, is Laura H. Carnell Professor of Psychology at Temple University.