Conduct Disorders

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Book Chapter

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Disruptive behaviors-defined here as behaviors that are associated with diagnoses of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) or Conduct Disorder (CD)-are the most common reason for referral to mental health services for children and adolescents (Kazdin, 2003). The behaviors that comprise these diagnoses include argumentativeness, temper tantrums, often being angry or resentful, lying, stealing, hurting or threatening to hurt others, cruelty to animals, setting fires, and destruction of property (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Kazdin (2003) estimates conservatively that between 1.4 million to 4.2 million children in the United States meet criteria for CD alone. Conduct problems or other externalizing behavioral difficulties constitute the most common referral issues for children and adolescents for mental health services (Brinkmeyer & Eyberg, 2003). The presence of these symptoms can be detected early in childhood (Webster-Stratton & Reid, 2003), making them amenable to treatment as long as candidates for intervention are identified and followed through with the prescribed treatment recommendations. ODD and CD encompass a broad array of acts, and young person need not exhibit all, or even most, of the symptoms of ODD and CD to warrant a diagnosis or be a candidate for intervention. Noncompliant behavior is frequently demonstrated in children with ODD or CD; however, many parents whose children do not meet diagnostic criteria for these disorders commonly report seeking outpatient mental health services for noncompliance in their children (McMahon & Forehand, 2003). One of the initial symptoms of conduct problems to emerge in children is lying (Christophersen & Mortweet, 2001). Specific behaviors that are associated with ODD and CD may in and of themselves be reason referring a young person for treatment, including bullying, rigidity/stubbornness, and temper tantrums (Christophersen & Mortweet, 2001; McMahon & Forehand, 2003). © 2009 Springer New York.

Publication Title

Treating Childhood Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities

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