The scientific claims of British child guidance, 1918-45

John Stewart

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    25 Citations (Scopus)


    This article examines the British child guidance movement's claim to scientific status and what it sought to gain by the wider acceptance of such a claim. The period covered is from the movement's origins in the 1920s to the end of the Second World War, by which point it had been incorporated into the welfare state. This was also an era when science commanded high intellectual and cultural status. Child guidance was a form of psychiatric medicine that addressed the emotional and psychological difficulties that any child might experience. It thus saw itself as a form of preventive medicine and as a component of the international movement for mental hygiene. Child guidance was organized around the clinic and employed the knowledge and skills of three distinct professions: psychiatrists, psychologists and psychiatric social workers.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)407-432
    Number of pages26
    JournalBritish Journal for the History of Science
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2009


    • welfare state
    • social history
    • British child guidance


    Dive into the research topics of 'The scientific claims of British child guidance, 1918-45'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this