A follow-up study of preadolescent, inpatient conduct-disordered children

Margaret C. Binder, Marquette University


Nearly one-half of all preadolescent children admitted to psychiatric hospitals are given a diagnosis of Conduct Disorder. Characteristically, these children are aggressive, destructive, evidence poor listening skills, disrespect the rights of others, are unwilling to admit mistakes, and are unable to perceive events from another's perspective. It remains unknown whether Conduct Disorder is comprised of one syndrome or many or whether it has an organic basis, an environmental basis, or both. In this follow-up study of hospitalized Conduct Disordered children, several variables were examined to determine their ability to predict the future functioning of these children. The variables studied were: age, sex, race, severity of behavior problems, severity of psycho-social stressors, age of onset, presence of co-existing diagnoses, level of academic functioning, length of hospitalization, use of medication, present residence, and specific DSM-III diagnosis (Socialized Aggressive, Unsocialized Aggressive, Atypical Conduct Disorder, etc.). The subjects consisted of 55 children (ages 8-17) who had been hospitalized at the Milwaukee County Child and Adolescent Treatment Center in 1986 or 1987 with a diagnosis of Conduct Disorder. Information for the independent variables was obtained from the children's charts. The dependent variable--the child's current functioning--was determined by the child's scores on the Quay-Peterson Revised Behavior Problem Checklist Conduct Disorder and Socialized Aggression scales. Individually, the independent variables showed limited predictive ability. The present age of the child, presence of co-existing diagnoses, and use of medication were found to be weakly predictive of current functioning. Via a stepwise multiple regression analysis using all the independent variables, the predictors found for the Conduct Disorder scale were the initial DSM-III diagnosis, the presence of co-existing diagnoses and current residence. For the Socialized Aggression scale, the present age of the child was the only significant predictor found. It is hypothesized that the homogeneity of these subjects on severity of initial problem, psycho-social stressors and academic functioning accounted for the limited number of significant results. The majority of subjects had extreme scores on these variables.

Recommended Citation

Binder, Margaret C., "A follow-up study of preadolescent, inpatient conduct-disordered children" (1991). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI9226212.