Author: Mariëlle Abrahamse
Children who have persistently high levels of externalizing behaviors are at risk for the development of Disruptive Behavior Disorders (DBDs), including oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and conduct disorder (CD) (Loeber, Burke, Lahey, Winters, & Zera, 2000). As described by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), the diagnosis of ODD refers to a persistent pattern of negativistic, defiant, disobedient, and hostile behavior toward others, whereas the key features of CD center on a persistent pattern of behavior that involves significant violations of the rights of others and/or major societal norms (APA; American Psychiatric Association, 2013). There is strong evidence that DBDs are associated with a range of mental health problems. For instance, the comorbidity of DBDs with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is high (Angold, Costello, & Erkanli, 1999; Beauchaine, Hinshaw, & Pang, 2010). Previous research has shown that DBDs are among the most prevalent disorders in children and adolescents (Lahey, Miller, Gordon, & Riley, 1999; Lavigne, LeBailly, Hopkins, Gouze, & Binns, 2009) and are the most frequent reason for referral to mental health services (Loeber et al.,2000). In regard to child gender, research indicates that rates of ODD are largely similar in boys and girls (Nock et al., 2007), but some studies show a slightly higher prevalence of ODD for boys in young children (Loeber, Burke, & Pardini, 2009; Rowe, Costello, Angold, Copeland, & Maughan, 2010).
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