Prevention of conduct disorders: Cognitive behavioural approaches

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Introduction The burden of conduct disorders Conduct disorders are characterised by persistent antisocial behaviour in children and young people and are remarkably common: at the level of diagnosable disorders, even using relatively conservative criteria, they affect 5% of the population (Moffitt & Scott, 2008). The diagnostic term oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), generally applied with younger children, requires the presence of symptoms such as arguing, tantrums, refusal to carry out instructions, spitefulness and blaming others. It is a subtype of conduct disorder in the ICD–10 system (World Health Organization, 1992) but is a separate entity in the DSM–IV–TR system (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). The term conduct disorder requires the presence of more serious violations, usually found in older youths, such as fighting, using a weapon, physical cruelty to people or animals, running away from home and stealing with force (mugging). Whichever diagnostic category group they are in initially, such children are seriously impaired: at home, they evoke criticism and have few friends, and at school they are disruptive and typically end up leaving with few or no qualifications (Fergusson et al., 2005). There is strong continuity to adulthood criminality, drug and alcohol misuse and unemployment (Fergusson et al., 2005). The lifetime cost to the public of a high-risk youth has been estimated to be $1.7–2.3 million in the USA (Cohen & Piquero, 2009), and in England individuals with conduct disorder aged 10 cost society ten times as much as controls by age 28 (Scott et al., 2001).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCognitive Behaviour Therapy for Children and Families, Third Edition
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9781139344456, 9781107689855
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


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