Childhood Mental Disorders and Illnesses
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Introduction to Disorders of ChildhoodForms and Causes of Childhood DisordersDiagnostic Criteria for Childhood DisordersIntellectual DisabilitiesThe Causes and Prevention of Intellectual DisabilitySigns and Symptoms of Intellectual DisabilitySupport & Help for Children with Intellectual DisabilitiesSupport & Help for Families with Intellectually Disabled ChildrenDisorders of Childhood: Motor Skills DisordersMotor Skills Disorder Treatment and Recommended ReadingDisorders of Childhood: Learning DisordersLearning Disorders DiagnosisLearning Disorders Treatment and Recommended ReadingDisorders of Childhood: Communication DisordersCommunication Disorders: Stuttering and Prevalence / Diagnosis of Communication DisordersTreatment of Communication Disorders and Recommended ReadingDisorders of Childhood: Pervasive Developmental DisordersDisorders of Childhood: Attention-Deficit and Disruptive Behavior DisordersDiagnosis of Conduct DisorderTreatment of Conduct DisorderTreatment of Conduct Disorder ContinuedIntroduction to Oppositional Defiant DisorderTreatment of Oppositional Defiant DisorderDisruptive Behavior Disorder NOS and Recommended Reading for Conduct Disorder / ODDFeeding and Eating Disorders of Infancy or Early Childhood: PicaRumination DisorderFeeding Disorder of Early Childhood Disorders of Childhood: Tic DisordersTreatment of Tic Disorders and Recommended ReadingElimination Disorders: EnuresisEnuresis Assessment and TreatmentElimination Disorders: EncopresisSelective MutismTreatment of Selective MutismDisorders of Childhood: Separation Anxiety DisorderSeparation Anxiety Disorder Assessment and TreatmentReactive Attachment Disorder of Infancy or Early ChildhoodReactive Attachment Disorder Assessment and TreatmentDisorders of Childhood: Stereotypic Movement DisorderTreatment of Stereotyped Movement DisordersDisorder of Infancy, Childhood, or Adolescence Not Otherwise Specified
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Child & Adolescent Development: Overview
Child Development and Parenting: Infants
Child Development and Parenting: Early Childhood

Diagnosis of Conduct Disorder

Andrea Barkoukis, M.A., Natalie Staats Reiss, Ph.D., and Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

Children suspected of having Conduct Disorder should be brought to a mental health professional who specializes in childhood disorders so that proper assessment and diagnosis can occur. Children's medical, developmental, psychological, and social history will be reviewed as a part of the assessment process, so as to put the behavioral symptoms into perspective. Children's behavioral and emotional functioning skills are also assessed across a variety of settings with checklists (completed by children, parents, and teachers) and/or direct observation in classroom and home settings.

The assessing clinician may choose from a variety of structured interviews, parent and teacher behavior checklists, and formal tests of intellectual functioning and academic skills as part of the diagnostic process. Some of the tests that might be chosen include:

Diagnostic Interview for Children and Adolescents (DICA)

The DICA is a semi-structured interview designed to determine whether children or adolescents currently have (or have ever had) symptoms consistent with DSM diagnoses such as Conduct Disorder. There are separate versions of this interview for children, adolescents, and parents.

Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL)

The CBCL is a widely used paper and pencil test that comes in different versions appropriate to varying age groups and rater perspectives. For example, there are different forms of the CBCL for teachers and for parents. This scale yields scores measuring Aggressive Behavior, Anxiety/Depression, Attention Problems, Delinquent Behavior, Social Problems, Somatic Complaints, Thought Problems, and Social Withdrawal.

Connors Continuous Performance Test (CPT)

The CCPT is used to assess children's ability to sustain attention (i.e., to continuously focus on a single task) and also provides measurements of children's tendency towards impulsiveness. During the test, children watch a computer screen upon which various symbols (e.g., numbers and letters) and sounds are presented. They respond to the presence of particular symbols and sounds by pressing buttons and by clicking with the computer's mouse.