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Conduct Disorder: Social Factors

Conduct disorder (CD) is defined as a persistent pattern of behavior involving the violation of societal norms or the rights of others. Childhood onset (before age 10 years) has been linked to higher family dysfunction, higher neuropsychological and cognitive deficits, and more severe difficulties in social, academic, and occupational functioning. Children who develop CD are at increased risk for peer rejection, poor academic performance, and school dropout. As they grow older, they are at heightened risk for alcohol and substance abuse, affiliation with deviant peers, delinquency, and unemployment.

There are many environmental and social antecedents that may increase a youth’s risk of developing CD. This entry reviews how neighborhoods, family, peer factors, and the media influence the likelihood of developing CD. However, it is important to ...

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