In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Intensive Interventions for Children and Adolescents with Conduct Disorder

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Textbooks
  • Journals
  • Specialized Organizations and Evidence-Based Intervention Resources
  • Residential-Based Intervention
  • Pharmacological Management
  • Comorbidity
  • Callous-Unemotional Traits
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity and Culture
  • Prevention

Education Intensive Interventions for Children and Adolescents with Conduct Disorder
Ariana Krynen, Ian Lambie
  • LAST REVIEWED: 30 October 2019
  • LAST MODIFIED: 30 October 2019
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756810-0160


Conduct disorder is defined as a repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior that violates the rights of others or in which major age-appropriate societal norms or rules are violated. Among education professionals, young people who present with these behaviors are typically described as having challenging behavior or emotional and behavioral disturbance. Without intervention, children with conduct disorder are seen to have poor long-term outcomes, including involvement with the juvenile justice system. A wide range of interventions have been developed to address conduct disorder among children and adolescents. This article focuses on the most intensive evidence-based programs available for this population. Evidence-based programs outlined include individual-focused, parent- and family-based, school-based, and multimodal interventions, as well as residential-based programs and pharmacological treatment. Given conduct disorder is a correlate of future offending, a number of resources in relation to general delinquency among children and adolescents are presented. Due to the importance of addressing comorbidity and meeting the needs of females and ethnic minorities with conduct disorder, these areas of research are also outlined. Finally, an overview of evidence-based early intervention programs for conduct disorder are provided.

General Overviews

Numerous resources provide valuable information about conduct disorder in children and adolescents that help inform intervention approaches. Martel 2018, Hill and Maughan 2001, and Matthys and Lochman 2017 provide a thorough overview of the nature, etiology, and intervention of conduct disorders. Frick 2012 and Klahr and Burt 2014 outline what is known about conduct disorder subgroups and discuss their implications for research and intervention. Loeber and Farrington 2001 and Loeber, et al. 2008 focus on child delinquency, its risk and protective factors, and intervention approaches. Andrews and Bonta 2017 outlines the risk-need-responsivity model, which is the prominent framework for guiding assessment and intervention for offending behavior.

  • Andrews, Donald A., and James Bonta. 2017. The psychology of criminal conduct. 6th ed. London: Routledge.

    This textbook discusses the psychology of criminal behavior. Chapters cover theory and research of the psychology of criminal conduct, risk and need factors, prediction and classification of criminal behavior, and prevention and rehabilitation. An overview is provided of the prominent risk-need-responsivity model, which guides the assessment and intervention for offending behavior. It only provides limited discussion of adolescents.

  • Frick, Paul J. 2012. Developmental pathways to conduct disorder: Implications for future directions in research, assessment, and treatment. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology 43.3: 378–389.

    DOI: 10.1080/15374416.2012.664815

    Summarizes current research on three developmental pathways to conduct disorder: adolescent-onset conduct disorder, conduct disorder with significant callous-unemotional traits, and conduct disorder with emotional and behavioral dysregulation. The implications of this research for intervention are provided.

  • Hill, Jonathan, and Barbara Maughan, eds. 2001. Conduct disorders in childhood and adolescence. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

    This textbook reviews the biological, neuropsychological, cognitive, and attachment and family factors and influences underlying conduct disorder. An overview of treatment and prevention for conduct disorder is also provided.

  • Klahr, Ashlea M., and S. Alexandra Burt. 2014. Practitioner review: Evaluation of the known behavioral heterogeneity in conduct disorder to improve its assessment and treatment. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 55.12: 1300–1310.

    DOI: 10.1111/jcpp.12268

    Summarizes research regarding the heterogeneity within conduct disorder, such as callous-unemotional traits, comorbidity, and age of onset. Emphasizes how this heterogeneity should be considered in the assessment and treatment of conduct disorder.

  • Loeber, Rolf, and David P. Farrington, eds. 2001. Child delinquents: Development, intervention, and service needs. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

    This resource presents the Study Group on Very Young Offenders’ findings on the prevalence, risk and protective factors, and interventions for child delinquency. This study group was formed by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and it was composed of thirty-nine experts in the area.

  • Loeber, Rolf, N. Wim Slot, Peter H. van der Laan, and Machteld Hoeve, eds. 2008. Tomorrow’s criminals: The development of child delinquency and effective interventions. Farnham, UK: Ashgate.

    Provides a thorough overview of research concerning the range of correlates and causes of child delinquency (including disruptive behaviors), as well as screening tools and prevention and intervention approaches. This text presents the argument that research and interventions should focus more on child delinquents aged twelve and under.

  • Martel, Michelle M., ed. 2018. Developmental pathways to disruptive, impulse-control, and conduct disorders. London: Elsevier/Academic.

    This textbook provides a thorough overview of disruptive behavior disorders (including conduct disorder), including risk markers of externalizing problems and current evidence-based treatments. A section is dedicated to new and emerging insights into the prevention and treatment of disruptive behaviors. This text comprises chapters written by experts in the field.

  • Matthys, Walter, and John E. Lochman. 2017. Oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder in children. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

    Contents provide a brief yet comprehensive overview of conduct disorder, its etiology, individual and environmental characteristics, clinical assessment, and intervention.

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