Date of Award

Fall 1991

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Fox, Robert

Second Advisor

Platz, Donald

Third Advisor

Kipfmueller, Mark


The high incidence of serious behavior problems among preadolescent children is causing ever increasing concern among educators, mental health professionals and the court system. Part of the cause for alarm is the fact that the number of young children exhibiting severely aggressive and destructive behavior seems to be steadily increasing with no remedy in sight. The court system and mental health facilities are already working with the children of persons who themselves had been diagnosed as Conduct Disordered, Socialized Aggressive, or Antisocial in their own childhoods. To-date no effective treatments have been found for the most seriously disturbed children. Compounding the problem, no research studies have been able to definitely determine what factors are responsible for the development of conduct problems. The frequent occurrence of other diagnoses such as Attention-Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, Psychosis, and Mental Retardation co-existing with Conduct Disorder have convinced some researchers that no independent diagnosis of Conduct Disorder actually exists. Other researchers believe they have found a separate conduct disorder factor occurring independently of the other pathologies. This research project explored factors believed to affect the incidence of Conduct Disorder and the prognosis for recovery. Among them were the age of the child, sex, race, age of onset, length of treatment, severity of behavior problems, severity of psycho-social stressors, academic functioning, and use of medication. The results showed that most of the children were still seriously disturbed 4-5 years after their discharge from inpatient treatment. Conduct· problems showed little age effect but socialized aggressive problems (stealing, drug usage, truancy, running away) steadily increased as the child got older. The presence of co-existing diagnoses were related to the children's scores on the individual scales of the Revised Behavior Problem Checklist, but they showed no relationship with which subjects eventually developed socialized aggression problems.



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