“Goodness of Fit”: Clinical Applications from Infancy through Adult Life. By Stella Chess & Alexander Thomas. Brunner/Mazel, Philadelphia, PA, 1999. pp. 229. £24.95 (hb).
Chess and Thomas's pioneering longitudinal studies of temperamental individuality started over 40 years ago (Thomas et al., 1963). Their publications soon became and remain classics. Their concept of “goodness of fit” emerges out of this monumental work but has had a long gestation period. In their new book, the authors distinguish between behaviour disorders that are reactive to the child's life circumstances, including life events, and which are self-correcting or responsive to the relevant changes in their environment, and more serious disorders.