“Les maux des enfants” (20.11.2021) Entretien avec Antoine Guedeney

Photo: Antoine Guedeney

Recently, Antoine Guedeney, past president of WAIMH, and professor of child and adolescent psychiatry (Service de pédopsychiatrie Policlinique Ney Jenny Aubry, Groupe Hospitalier Universitaire AP-HP. Nord Université de Paris et Université de Paris, France), conducted a podcast, with Radio Television Suisse (RTS) to celebrate the International day of The Rights of Children.

In the podcast, Professor Guedeney highlights the unique needs of infants and the important role of those who care for infants and of those who support infants and their families, to be attuned to listening to babies, as they communicate their joy and their distress. It is essential that the eco system of support around an infant can optimally identify, respond, treat, and as much as possible, prevent distress in all very young children.

Radio Television Suisse (RTS) Egosystème – 2021, in conjunction with Professor Guedeney have granted WAIMH permission to share their podcast link with WAIMH.

La journée internationale des droits de lʹenfant

Antoine Guedeney, (a Radio Televisual Suisse podcast) 

 “A lʹoccasion de la journée internationale des droits de lʹenfant, Antoine Guedeney, pédopsychiatre, nous alerte sur la sensibilité des petits et les enjeux des premières années, le rôle fondamental de lʹentourage qui ne doit pas rester sourd aux souffrances parfois déjà présentes. Il a mis au point un outil innovant, une alarme détresse afin de repérer rapidement pour réparer au mieux et permettre à lʹenfant de grandir. Antoine Guedeney : ” Un bébé nʹattend pas ” repérer, soigner, prévenir la détresse chez le tout petit enfant. Editions Odile Jacob” (RTS 20 November, 2021)

Here is the link, generously provided by RTS, to WAIMH to share with our readers and listeners:

EGOSYSTÈME Les maux des enfants


The Alarm Distress BaBy (ADBB) scale

Within the podcast, Professor Guedeney also introduces the audience to The Alarm Distress BaBy (ADBB) scale which assesses social withdrawal behaviour in infants and young children less than 3 years of age (Guedeney & Fermanian, 2001). The ADBB requires the clinician to engage the infant in social behaviour – by talking, touching, and smiling to the infant, while conducting routine examinations with the baby. The infant’s social behaviour is rated on 8 items using a scale (0 to 4). Following training, it can be used for clinical assessments or research use.

While low infant sociability can be due to many factors, including both organic and non-organic disorders (Guedeney & Fermanian, 2001; Matthey et al, 2005; Braarud et al, 2013), the ADBB can alert the clinician to take extra care with the baby and it’s family system so as to understand better what the baby is communicating and in turn so as to provide support and help to the baby and it’s care system. In addition, a new paper has recently been published on the ADBB regarding the screening of social withdrawal in primary care setting (Egmose et al., 2021). For further details about the ABDD see: http://www.adbb.net/gb-conditions.html


Braarud, H. C., Slinning, K., Moe, V., Smith, L., Vannebo, U. T., Guedeney, A., & Heimann, M. (2013). Relation between social withdrawal symptoms in full-term and premature infants and depressive symptoms in mothers: A longitudinal study. Infant Mental Health Journal, 34, 532-541. https://doi.org/10.1002/imhj.21414

Egmose, I., Smith-Nielsen, J., Lange, T., Stougaard, M., Stuart, A. C. Guedeney, A., & Væver, M. S. (2021). How to screen for social withdrawal in primary care: An evaluation of the alarm distress baby scale using item response theory. International Journal of Nursing Studies Advances, 3, 100038. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijnsa.2021.100038

Guedeney, A., & Fermanian, J. (2001). A validity and reliability study of assessment and screening for sustained withdrawal reaction in infancy: The Alarm Distress Baby Scale. Infant Mental Health Journal, 22,5, 559-575.

Matthey, S., Guedeney, A., Starakis, N., & Barnett, B. (2005). Assessing the social behavior of infants: use of the ADBB Scale and relationship to mother’s mood. Infant Mental Health Journal, 26, 5, 442-458, 10.1002/imhj.20061


Maree Foley (Switzerland)

Antoine Guedeney (France)