About the Project

To bet­ter under­stand the con­tro­ver­sies sur­round­ing the diag­no­sis of men­tal dis­or­ders in chil­dren and recent increases in the use of med­ica­tions to treat these dis­or­ders, The Hastings Cen­ter, with a grant from the National Insti­tute of Men­tal Health, con­ducted a series of five work­shops over the course of three years that brought together clin­i­cians, researchers, schol­ars, and advo­cates from a vari­ety of dis­ci­pli­nary back­grounds with widely diverse views. The first and last work­shops con­sid­ered the con­tro­ver­sies gen­er­ally, while each of the mid­dle three work­shops con­sid­ered the debates in the con­text of one diag­no­sis — atten­tion deficit hyper­ac­tiv­ity dis­or­der, depres­sion, and bipo­lar dis­or­der, respectively.

This report draws on what we, the authors, learned from these five work­shops and from our read­ing of the sci­en­tific and schol­arly lit­er­a­ture. While it is the work of its authors, it grows out of the project’s final work­shop, to whose par­tic­i­pants we are deeply grate­ful for their insights and will­ing­ness to engage us and each other: Mary G. Burke (Sut­ter Pacific Med­ical Cen­ter and Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, San Fran­cisco), William B. Carey (Uni­ver­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia), Gabrielle A. Carl­son (Stony Brook Uni­ver­sity School of Med­i­cine), Peter Con­rad (Bran­deis Uni­ver­sity), Lawrence Diller (Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, San Fran­cisco), Jörg Fegert (Uni­ver­sity of Ulm), Michael B. First (New York Psy­chi­atric Insti­tute and Colum­bia Uni­ver­sity), Sara Hark­ness (Uni­ver­sity of Con­necti­cut), Kelly J. Kelle­her (Ohio State Uni­ver­sity), Roy P. Mar­tin (Uni­ver­sity of Geor­gia), Jon McClel­lan (Uni­ver­sity of Wash­ing­ton), Karen Maschke (The Hastings Cen­ter), William E. Pel­ham, Jr. (State Uni­ver­sity of New York at Buf­falo), Susan Resko (Child and Ado­les­cent Bipo­lar Foun­da­tion), John Z. Sadler (Uni­ver­sity of Texas at Dal­las), Ilina Singh (Lon­don School of Eco­nom­ics and Polit­i­cal Sci­ence), Bon­nie Stein­bock (State Uni­ver­sity of New York at Albany), Charles M. Super (Uni­ver­sity of Con­necti­cut), Benedetto Vitiello (National Insti­tute of Men­tal Health), and Julie Magno Zito (Uni­ver­sity of Maryland).

—Erik Parens and Josephine Johnston