Conduct Disorders in Children

17th April 2013 by Louise Hudman

This guideline is about conduct and other antisocial disorders affecting young people. It outlines the kinds of things to cover in the history as well as management strategies. There’s not really anything groundbreaking here, but it’s worth a look if your heart sinks at the mention of ‘behavioural problems’. I’ve gone into more background than I normally do as I wasn’t aware of a lot of this, though it makes sense.
It is also important to be aware of conduct disorders as intervention may help. Up to 50% of children with a conduct disorder go on to have an antisocial personality disorder as adults. It is also associated with poor educational performance, substance misuse and criminal behaviour. There is also a high prevalence of other mental health disorders in affected kids.

The stats are worth noting and just support what you’ll have seen anyway. Prevalence is 5%, though up to 40% in looked after kids and other high risk groups. It is much more common in lower socio-economic groups.

To diagnose a conduct disorder, the child’s behaviour must be:
– Persistent
– Repetitive
– Significantly violating the expected norms of social behaviour for that age.


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