Child Psychiatry and Human Development

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 185–198 | Cite as

Infantile depression, nonorganic failure to thrive, and DSM-III-R: A different perspective

  • Gerald F. Powell
  • Barbara A. Bettes


A controversy exists regarding the classification of nonorganic failure to thrive within the psychiatric nomenclature. There are a number of DSM-III-R diagnoses that may be applied to NOFTT, including Reactive Attachment Disorder of Infancy (RADI) and Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). The behaviors characteristic of NOFTT are symptomatic of depression, and are similar to those exhibited by infants with anaclitic depression as well as those of the adult with depression. The correspondence of the behaviours of NOFTT and the DSM-III-R criteria for Major Depression are reviewed, as are the conceptual and therapeutic reasons to view NOFTT infants as suffering from Depression.

Key words

Depression infancy failure to thrive 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerald F. Powell
    • 1
  • Barbara A. Bettes
    • 2
  1. 1.New York State Psychiatric InstituteUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pediatrics, Child Health Center C3TI6University of Texas Medical BranchGalveston

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