Determining the presence of conduct disorder (CD) is a relatively straightforward process. As described in Chapters 1, 3, and 5, CD is the diagnostic classification applied to children who display a pervasive and persistent pattern of problem behaviors characterized by aggression, destruction, deceitfulness, and serious violations of rules (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). To meet diagnostic criteria, three or more of the criteria must be present in the past 12 months, with at least one criterion present in the past 6 months. Since CD behaviors are typically externalized behaviors demonstrated by the individual, such actions are often readily measured through observation and broad-band and narrow-band rating scales as described in Chapter 5. However, for school personnel, the diagnosis of CD alone provides limited information for two main reasons. First, the diagnosis of CD may or may not qualify the child for special-education services. Specialeducation eligibility has implications for the type and location of treatment and also impacts on disciplinary decisions made in response to antisocial behaviors committed on school property (Slenkovich, 1983). Second, diagnosis alone does not provide adequate information regarding treatment for the individual with CD. As discussed in Chapter 5, the goal of assessment in CD is to surpass diagnosis to provide better understanding of the child or adolescent’s psychosocial strengths and needs for the purpose of treatment planning (Frick, 1998b). Thus, assessment is a critical step not only for determining diagnosis, but also for informing education decisions and planning for treatment.
KeywordsConduct Disorder Antisocial Behavior Conduct Disorder Emotional Disturbance Psychopathic Trait
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