Common Versus Specific Correlates of Fifth-Grade Conduct Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder Symptoms

Comparison of Three Racial/Ethnic Groups

Published in: Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, v. 43, no. 5, July 2015, p. 985-998

Posted on RAND.org on December 11, 2014

by Margit Wiesner, Marc N. Elliott, Katie A. McLaughlin, Stephen W. Banspach, Susan R. Tortolero, Mark A. Schuster

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The extent to which risk profiles or correlates of conduct disorder (CD) and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) symptoms overlap among youth continues to be debated. Cross-sectional data from a large, representative community sample (N = 4,705) of African-American, Latino, and White fifth graders were used to examine overlap in correlates of CD and ODD symptoms. About 49 % of the children were boys. Analyses were conducted using negative binomial regression models, accounting for several confounding factors (e.g., attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms), sampling weights, stratification, and clustering. Results indicated that CD and ODD symptoms had very similar correlates. In addition to previously established correlates, several social skills dimensions were significantly related to ODD and CD symptoms, even after controlling for other correlates. In contrast, temperamental dimensions were not significantly related to CD and ODD symptoms, possibly because more proximal correlates (e.g., social skills) were also taken into account. Only two factors (gender and household income) were found to be specific correlates of CD, but not ODD, symptoms. The pattern of common and specific correlates of CD and ODD symptoms was replicated fairly consistently across the three racial/ethnic subgroups. Implications of these findings for further research and intervention efforts are discussed.

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