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Conduct Disorders – Trajectories
Course Blog for Developmental Psychopathology (PSY330; Spring 2020)

Conduct Disorders

Recently we have been studying childhood conduct disorders. Conduct disorders are extremely important to understand and study because it accounts for the majority of clinical referrals for both children and adolescents. It also accounts for the largest percentage of special education placements in schools. Conduct problems present within four categories: destructive covert, destructive overt, nondestructive covert, and nondestructive overt. Destructive covert behavior is the most visible and outwardly aggressive behavior while nondestructive covert behavior such as running away or swearing is on the lower end of the spectrum. We have looked at two different conduct disorders: Conduct disorder (CD) (most serious) and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). The two disorders differ in what is categorized by behavior. The DSM V says that CD is the persistent pattern of violation of social norms, rules and rights of others. On the other hand, ODD is categorized as the persistent pattern of negativistic, hostile, and defiant behavior. CD is more severe than ODD because it can lead to breaking the law and hurting others while ODD is more likely to affect an individual’s mood and behavior in a controlled setting. However, CD is almost always preceded by ODD but ODD does not necessarily always develop into CD.

Dodge and Pettit created a model of the development of chronic conduct problems. They were able to show that everything in a child’s life has an impact on mental processes that could lead to conduct problems. Both biological processes and sociocultural contexts effect parenting and peers within the child’s life which in turn affects their mental processes. Biological predisposition for conduct problems are factors often seen to be present at or near birth. Sociocultural contexts are affected by subcultural factors such as defending one’s honor for respect, neighborhood factors, school factors, and family factors.

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