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Child Abuse and Conduct Disorder in Children

September 7, 2011

According to Sadock B., Sadock V. &Sadock V.A.(2008, P.96) in their book, Kaplan and Sadock concise textbook of child and adolescent psychiatry, there in a common consensus on the fact that those children that chronically experience sexual or physical abuse when they are young are at a risk of developing aggressive behavior at later years. They also assert that the onset of aggressive behavior in children with a history of maltreatment manifests early in boys than in girls. That is to say that, conduct disorder reaches diagnostic criteria at the age between 14 and 16 for girls and at the age of between 10 and 12 years old in boys (Sadock B., Sadock V. &Sadock V.A., 2008, P.96). For instance, McCabe, et al (2005,p.575) conducted an experiment with an aim of testing the hypothesis that those children who are exposed to violent behavior end up developing conduct problems during their adolescence. This was a two years study that used a sample of 423 adolescents between the ages of 12 to 17 years old. This was a random sample of high risk youths being treated in public psychiatric hospitals. The information needed was collected from studying the adolescents’ pattern of treatment and care (Mc Cabe, et al 2005, p.575). The results put in their article titled, The Relation between Violence Exposure and Conduct Problems among Adolescents: a Prospective Study indicated that those children who had been exposed to community violence had a higher chance of developing conduct disorder which would manifest in external symptoms. On the other hand, child maltreatment predicted psychiatric disorder that manifested without externalizing the symptoms. However a child’s exposure to violence between intimate partners did not predict either of the two outcomes. Even where child maltreatment and exposure to violence between intimate partners were controlled, a child’s exposure to violence was a great contributing factor to adolescent misconduct. It is therefore imperative to form treatment solutions that address the internalizing and externalizing symptoms, in the treatment of socially deviant adolescent with a history of child maltreatment. The study also gives significant pointers towards the prevention of psychiatric disorders in young people. Romano, Zoccolilo & Paquette (2006, p. 329) did a study that investigated the relationship between child maltreatment and behavior disorder in a sample of pregnant adolescents. Cross-sectional information was collected from a sample of 252 pregnant adolescents from a home group setting, hospitals and high schools in Canada. The girls filled up a questionnaire and underwent an interview on their history of psychiatric disorder. The study used latent class analysis to associate child maltreatment and behavioral disorder. The results in their article, Histories of child maltreatment and psychiatric disorder in pregnant adolescents showed that 79% of the pregnant adolescents had not experienced child maltreatment while 21% undergone some kind of mistreatment at a young age. The study also showed that the child maltreatment latent variables had no connection with psychiatric disorder. Instead, aggressive behavior was associated with only the sexual form of child maltreatment. The results also showed a significant association between depression and psychiatric disorder in the pregnant adolescents at the ratio of 3.70.In addition and compared to the non maltreated girls, those girls who had experienced multiple forms of maltreatment were four times more likely to develop conduct disorder. In conclusion, the study proved that prior experience of sexual or multiple form of child maltreatment was a factor that predisposed adolescents to behavior misconduct (Zoccolilo &Paquette 2006, p. 329).More studies of the maltreatment history of a child will help to form better understand adolescent misconduct and come up with remedies that can help to prevent such outcomes. Relationship between depression and conduct disorder in children with child abuse Rutter & Taylor argue in their book (2002) argue in their book, child and adolescent psychiatry that, one of the identifiable causal factor for conduct disorder is child abuse….

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