Abnormal Child & Adolescent Psychology

Resources for students and teachers...

9. Conduct Problems in Children & Adolescents

Learning Objectives

Describe the key features of oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and conduct disorder (CD).


Explain how conduct problems vary as a function of children’s age of onset, gender, and capacity for prosocial



Discuss some of the main causes of children’s conduct problems across genetic, biological, psychological, familial,

and social–cultural levels of analysis.


Outline three main developmental pathways to conduct problems in youths.

Describe evidence-based psychosocial treatments for childhood conduct problems.

Note: The number before each objective shows its corresponding module in the text.


Ready to Study? Click here to access flashcards for key terms presented in the text. Flashcards are a great way to help you define, explain, and give examples of important terms and ideas. (You may need to create a free Quizlet account to access the flashcards.)

Test Your Critical Thinking

Ready to Review? Click here to review each of the research questions presented in the text. Review questions are a great way to test your application and critical thinking skills.


Childhood Aggression

In this excellent video, J. Mark Eddy, PhD (University of Washington) discusses aggressive behavior and other conduct problems in children.

How to Use Time Out

Dr. Gregory Fabiano (University at Buffalo) describes the behavioral principles that underlie Time Out and how parents can use this strategy more effectively with their children.

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy

This video, produced by the Santa Clara Center for CBT, provides a short illustration of PCIT, an evidence-based treatment for young children with oppositional-defiant behavior.

Learn More

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP)

The OJJDP’s website is the first place to look for information about juvenile justice in the Unites States. Most of the documents located in the “Publications” section are available online, but many are not peer reviewed so their methodological rigor varies. The “Statistics” link will take you to a wealth of information regarding antisocial behavior and criminal activity among youth.

PBS Frontline: Juvenile Justice

This PBS documentary tells the story of four adolescents who have each committed serious acts of antisocial behavior. Two were sent to adult court and two were treated as juveniles. The documentary raises important questions about how best to treat adolescents with Conduct Disorder. After you read the case studies of the four adolescents, how do you think they might best be helped?

PBS Frontline: Troubled Kids

In this PBS documentary, reporters investigate antisocial behavior in prepubescent children. Much of the documentary focuses on the story of a six-year-old child who assaulted a one-month-old baby. You can read the opinion of all of the major players involved in the court case. Be sure to read the interview with Dr. John Coie, a leading researcher in children’s conduct problems. Dr. Coie discusses the difficulty of predicting violent behavior in youth.

Police Documents: Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold

On April 20, 1999, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris killed 15 people and injured 24 others at Columbine High School before killing themselves. At this site, you can see evidence collected by Jefferson County police documenting their involvement in the shooting. These documents a psychological evaluation of Eric Harris completed approximately one year before the shooting. It illustrates the difficulty that mental health professionals have predicting violence in adolescents.

RAND: Juvenile Delinquency

RAND Corporation is a nonprofit global policy think tank financed by the U.S. government and private endowments. It provides research and analysis to the US government to inform public policy. RAND maintains an excellent site on juvenile delinquency in the United States.