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A Life Course Approach to Mental Disorders$
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Karestan C. Koenen, Sasha Rudenstine, Ezra Susser, and Sandro Galea

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199657018

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199657018.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 July 2021

Conduct disorder across the life course

Conduct disorder across the life course

(p.165) Chapter 15 Conduct disorder across the life course
A Life Course Approach to Mental Disorders

Sara R. Jaffee

Candice L. Odgers

Oxford University Press

Conduct disorder affects as many as 10% of youth and characterizes males versus females by a ratio of about 2:1. Youth who are diagnosed with conduct disorder prior to adolescence have a particularly poor prognosis and are at elevated risk for lifelong antisocial behaviour. Childhood onset conduct disorder has been shown to emerge from deficits in the ability to inhibit behaviour, recognize fear, and respond to punishment – individual factors that are potentiated by criminogenic environments characterized by suboptimal caregiving, high levels of threat, and abundant opportunities for antisocial behaviour. There is also substantial evidence for a subtype of antisocial behaviour that emerges in adolescence and largely desists in young adulthood, with researchers hypothesizing that engagement in antisocial behaviour is perceived by youth as a means of obtaining adult privileges—a desired outcome for some who have reached biological maturity but who are not treated by society as mature adults. Current research is focused on differentiating early onset conduct-disordered youth, whose antisocial behaviour desists throughout the elementary school years, from those whose antisocial behaviour persists across the life course. Research is also focused on understanding the mechanisms that drive the interplay between individual and contextual risk factors for conduct disorder. Given the high cost of conduct disorder to victims, perpetrators, and to society, efforts have been made to develop and support efficacious treatments and preventive interventions for the disorder. The most successful programmes typically involve key figures in the child’s environment and are flexible to clients’ needs. This chapter synthesizes the literature with regard to a life course perspective on conduct disorder. The chapter begins by defining the disorder and describing its prevalence and comorbidity with other disorders. The developmental course of conduct disorder is then described, with attention to taxonomic issues as well as predictors and sequelae of different trajectories of conduct problems. The literature on individual and contextual risk factors for conduct disorder is summarized, and the implications for public health are discussed.

Keywords:   conduct disorder, antisocial, behaviour, youth, risk factors, life course

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