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Conduct Disorder

A pattern of repetitive behavior where the rights of others or the social norms are violated and in which the basic rights of others or major age-appropriate societal norms or rules are violated, as manifested by the presence of three (or more) of the following criteria in the past 12 months, with at least one criterion present in the past 6 months:

Aggression to people and animals:

Often bullies, threatens, or intimidates others.

Often initiates physical fights.

Has used a weapon that can cause serious physical harm to others.

Has been physically cruel to people.

Has been physically cruel to animals.

Has stolen while confronting a victim.

Has forced someone into sexual activity.

Destruction of property:

Has deliberately engaged in fire setting with the intention of causing serious damage.

Has deliberately destroyed others' property (other than by fire setting).

Deceitfulness or theft:

Has broken into someone else's house, building, or car.

Often lies to obtain goods or favors or to avoid obligations (i.e., "cons" others).

Has stolen items of nontrivial value without confronting a victim (e.g., shoplifting, but without breaking and entering; forgery).

Serious violations of rules:

Often stays out at night despite parental prohibitions, beginning before age 13 years.

Has run away from home overnight at least twice while living in parental or parental surrogate home (or once without returning for a lengthy period).

Is often truant from school, beginning before age 13 years.

The disturbance in behavior causes clinically significant impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning.

If the individual is age 18 years or older, criteria are not met for Antisocial Personality Disorder.

Specify Type based on age at onset:

1. Childhood-Onset Type: onset of at least one criterion characteristic of Conduct Disorder prior to age 10 years.

2. Adolescent-Onset Type: absence of any criteria characteristic of Conduct Disorder prior to age 10 years.

Specify Severity:

1. Mild: few if any conduct problems in excess of those required to make the diagnosis and conduct problems cause only minor harm to others.

2. Moderate: number of conduct problems and effect on others intermediate between "mild" and "severe".

3. Severe: many conduct problems in excess of those required to make the diagnosis or conduct problems cause considerable harm to others.

    Associated Features:

Learning Problem
Depressed Mood
Dramatic or Erratic or Antisocial Personality

Differential Diagnosis:

Some disorders display similar or sometimes even the same symptom. The clinician, therefore, in his diagnostic attempt has to differentiate against the following disorders which one needs to be ruled out to establish a precise diagnosis.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder;
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder;
Manic Episode;
Adjustment Disorder;
Child or Adolescent Antisocial Behavior;
Antisocial Personality Disorder.


This disorder has been attributed to many factors including poor parenting, child abuse, poverty, and children brought up in chaotic environments. Roughly 6 to 16% of boys and two to 9% of girls have this disorder.


Counseling and Psychotherapy [ See Therapy Section ]:

Treatment consists of a multimodal treatment program. The family should also be involved in therapy. Individual psychotherapy is needed to work on problem solving skills.

DSM Code

312.81 Conduct Disorder Childhood Onset Type

312.82 Conduct Disorder Adolescent Onset Type

F91.0 Conduct Disorder confined to the Family Context

Disorder Sheets

Parent Network
44-46 Caversham Road, London
Telephone 020 7485 8535

Recommended Book

Causes of Conduct Disorder and Juvenile Delinquency - Click Here to View


Conduct Disorder

Misc Information


Conduct Disorder