of DSM Conduct Disorder in a National Sample of Australian Boys
problems are of great concern to mental health workers, educators,
parents, and society as a whole. Major investments have been made
in efforts to understand, prevent, and treat conduct problems.
The DSM-IV lists 15 criterial symptoms for Conduct Disorder (CD).
Any 3 of the 15 symptoms can qualify a youth for the diagnosis.
Consequently, some youths may be diagnosed as having CD on the
basis of 3 kinds of overtly aggressive behavior (e.g., forced
sex; use of a dangerous weapon; physical cruelty to animals or
people). Others may be diagnosed on the basis of 3 kinds of nonaggressive
behaviors (e.g., lying, stealing, staying out late, running away
from home, truancy). Still others may be diagnosed on the basis
of a mixture of both kinds of behaviors. Multivariate analyses
of the CBCL, TRF, YSR, and other rating forms have yielded separate,
though correlated, syndromes of aggressive versus nonaggressive
conduct problems. To determine whether the DSM-IV CD symptoms
form such patterns, a team of American and Australian researchers
factor analyzed DSM-IV CD symptoms reported by parents of a national
sample of 1,669 Australian boys aged 6 to 17 (Tackett, Krueger,
Sawyer, & Graetz, 2003). The parents' reports were obtained
by home interviewers who administered the Diagnostic Interview
Schedule for Children Version IV (DISC-IV). After being interviewed
with the DISC-IV, the parents completed the CBCL. (Girls were
not included in the analyses because parents reported 11 of the
15 DSM-IV CD symptoms for <1% of girls.) Factor analysis of
the CD symptoms yielded one factor with highest loadings for overtly
aggressive symptoms and a second factor with highest loadings
for nonaggressive symptoms. These two factors thus reflected groupings
of symptoms like the syndromes of conduct problems found in multivariate
analyses of rating forms. To test associations between the two
groups of DSM-IV symptoms and empirically based syndromes, the
researchers performed separate multiple regressions of each group
of DSM-IV symptoms on the boys' scores for the CBCL Aggressive
Behavior and Delinquent (now called Rule-Breaking) Behavior syndromes.
The results revealed that the overtly aggressive CD symptoms were
predicted primarily by the CBCL Aggressive Behavior syndrome.
Conversely, the nonaggressive CD symptoms were predicted primarily
by the CBCL Delinquent Behavior syndrome. The researchers concluded
that "the distinction between aggressive and delinquent antisocial
behavior in this age group, as captured by the CBCL, appears to
provide a more accurate account of childhood antisocial behaviors
than the unitary conduct disorder defined in the DSM-IV"
Reference: Tackett, J.L., Krueger, R.F., Sawyer, M.G.,
& Graetz, B.W. (2003). Subfactors of DSM-IV Conduct Disorder:
Evidence and connections with syndromes from the Child Behavior
Checklist. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 31, 647-654.