Conduct Disorder

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Causes of Conduct Disorder

Child Biological Factors

Considerable research has been carried out into the role of child temperament, the tendency to respond in predictable ways to events, as a predictor of conduct problems. Aspects of the personality such as activity levels displayed by a child, emotional responsiveness, quality of mood and social adaptability are part of his or her temperament. Longitudinal studies have found that although there is a relationship between early patterns of temperament, and adjustment during adulthood, the longer the time span the weaker this relationship becomes.

A more important determinant of whether or not temperamental qualities persist has been shown to be the manner in which parents respond to their children. "Difficult" infants have been shown to be especially likely to display behavior problems later in life if their parents are impatient, inconsistent, and demanding. On the other hand "difficult" infants, whose parents give them time to adjust to new experiences, learn to master new situations effectively. In a favorable family context a "difficult" infant is not at risk of displaying disruptive behavior disorder at 4 years old.

Cognitions may also influence the development of conduct disorder. Children with conduct disorder have been found to misinterpret or distort social cues during interactions with peers. For example, a neutral situation may be construed as having hostile intent. Further, children who are aggressive have been shown to seek fewer cues or facts when interpreting the intent of others. Children with conduct disorder experience deficits in social problem solving skills. As a result they generate fewer alternate solutions to social problems, seek less information, see problems as having a hostile basis, and anticipate fewer consequences than children who do not have a conduct disorder (Webster-Stratton & Dahl, 1995).

Other Useful Links regarding Conduct Disorder

  • Symptoms of Conduct Disorder
  • Course of Conduct Disorder
    • The onset of conduct disorder may occur as early as age 5 or 6, but more usually occurs in late childhood or early adolescence, learn more about the course of conduct disorder
  • Subtypes of Conduct Disorder
  • Causes of Conduct Disorder
    • Read more about the various causes of conduct disorder, including, biological, family, genetic, neurological, parent related, and school factors.
  • Treatment of Conduct Disorder
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