Most every child, at some point in their life, has heard their parents talk about their conduct.
If the child's bad conduct and behavior is severe enough and constantly
occurring, it may be Conduct Disorder (CD). This disorder may severely
impair the child's performance at school, cause problems at home, and impair
their everyday functioning. Many of the children with CD will suffer from
Antisocial Personality Disorder as an adult.
CD has been grouped into four main categories. These are:
If the child's conduct is continuous, and their pattern of behavior includes
constantly infringing on other people's basic rights of what
society considers normal, and the child has displayed three of the four
categories of CD numerous times over the course of a year, the child may have CD
and need proper treatment. Although CD is primarily diagnosed in young
children, it may also be diagnosed in young adults in their late teens and is
often times confused as Antisocial Personality Disorder when the person is over
18 years of age.
CD has two subtypes. The first is when the child is normally under the
age of 10. Most often, it is a male that displays aggression
frequently and may have suffered from Oppositional Defiant Disorder early on
in their childhood. The children of this subtype are likely to have
persistent Conduct Disorder and more often than not, will suffer from Antisocial
Personality Disorder as an adult. The second subtype happens after age 10.
The children with this type of CD display less aggressive behavior and are less
likely to develop Antisocial Personality Disorder, and are mainly female.
A study conducted in 1994, by the Phelps Research Firm concludes that six
percent of American children suffer from CD. They also found that
geographic location may determine the percentage of children with CD. For
example, fourteen percent of the children in Chicago that were tested had a
moderate level of CD. The same age group of children that were tested in a rural community in Missouri
showed only four percent of the children with moderate CD.
Research has shown several factors that may contribute to CD, such as:
- neurological impairment
- family history of CD
- observing the way the parents respond to them and mimicking that behavior
in other social situations
- pressure to perform well in school
- maternal depression
- alcohol, drug abuse or antisocial behavior in parents
- violence in the home
- parents getting divorced
- sudden death of a parent
Research also showed the majority of children with CD come from a family
where the parents have few parenting skills. These parents are often severe in their punishment of the child
for the child's bad behavior.
The size of the family and birth order is believed to be a factor in CD due
to the fact that male children, coming from large families,
make up the majority of the males with CD subtype 1.
Treatment for CD consists of two primary objectives. The first is
prevention which is directed towards the onset of the disorder even though the
child has not displayed the full effects of CD. Receiving treatment at
this point will help reduce the severity of CD. The second focuses on
developing skills for the child, family, teachers, and anyone else who plays a
major role in the child's life. This type of treatment includes cognitive and behavioral therapy.
The child is taught a new set of skills to aid them in their developmental
and adaptive functioning. It is thought that this will help the child to
effectively interact with others.
Many schools have preventative programs geared towards developing better cognitive skills
in the child with CD. These programs center around teaching the child
better ways to cope with situations rather than becoming angry in hopes that it
will further the child's interpersonal problem-solving skills.