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Conduct Disorder In Adolescent Girls

Conduct Disorder In Adolescent GirlsNearly 10 percent of adolescent girls in the United States meet the criteria for conduct disorder, the second most common psychiatric diagnosis among adolescent females.

The diagnosis describes youths who persistently exhibit behaviors that violate rules and rights of others — truancy, fighting, stealing, lying, cruelty or property destruction are examples of this.

Although conduct disorder is less prevalent in girls than in boys, many of these teenage girls may grow up to have poor adjustment in adulthood, with mental and physical health problems and difficulties parenting.

A recent study, conducted by researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and published in the journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, sought to determine if three domains of social context — neighborhood, family characteristics and parenting behaviors — were associated with conduct disorder in adolescent girls.

“Our findings indicate that conduct disorder in adolescent girls is not significantly associated with neighborhood quality, but is, in fact, correlated with family characteristics and types of parenting behaviors,” said Kathleen Pajer, MD, MPH, the study’s lead author and principal investigator in The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

“Minority race, neighborhood quality and family poverty had some effect on conduct disorder in adolescent girls, but not once family interactions with the girl and her parents’ own history of delinquency, conduct disorder or criminality were taken into account.”

Conduct disorder and delinquency share some characteristics. An adolescent caught doing one illegal act is deemed delinquent, and conduct disorder describes that a youth has engaged in multiple deviant behaviors over a long period of time.

“Social context, such as poverty in the neighborhood, has long been known to affect rates of delinquency, but very few studies have examined whether social contexts are associated with conduct disorder in girls,” said Pajer, also an associate professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

“Our results are somewhat different than studies on the role of social context in delinquency.”

Pajer concludes, “Our findings may help us develop better treatment for girls with conduct disorder. Some interventions designed for delinquent girls or boys may not be successful in treating conduct disorder in adolescent girls.”

Data for the study were obtained from nearly 100 participants (15-to 17-year-old girls) in a large mid-Western city. Half of the girls were diagnosed with conduct disorder, while the other half, a demographically matched group, had no psychiatric disorder.

Source: Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Conduct Disorder In Adolescent Girls

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Conduct Disorder In Adolescent Girls. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 18, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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