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Concept: Oppositional defiant disorder


Previous research has pointed towards a link between emotion dysregulation and aggressive behavior in children. Emotion regulation difficulties are not specific for children with persistent aggression problems, i.e. oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder (ODD/CD), children with other psychiatric conditions, such as autism spectrum disorders or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, have emotion regulation difficulties too. On a behavioral level some overlap exists between these disorders and comorbidity is high. The aim of this study was therefore twofold: 1) to examine emotion regulation difficulties in 65 boys with ODD/CD in comparison to a non-clinical control group (NC) of 38 boys (8-12 years) using a performance measure (Ultimatum Game), parent report and self-report, and 2) to establish to what extent emotion regulation in the ODD/CD group was correlated with severity of autism and/or attention deficit traits. Results on the Ultimatum Game showed that the ODD/CD group rejected more ambiguous offers than the NC group, which is seen as an indication of poor emotion regulation. Parents also reported that the ODD/CD group experienced more emotion regulation problems in daily life than the NC group. In contrast to these cognitive and behavioral measures, self-reports did not reveal any difference, indicating that boys with ODD/CD do not perceive themselves as having impairments in regulating their emotions. Emotional decision making within the ODD/CD group was not related to variation in autism or attention deficit traits. These results support the idea that emotion dysregulation is an important problem within ODD/CD, yet boys with ODD/CD have reduced awareness of this.

Concepts: Psychology, Decision making, Autism, Aggression, Mental disorder, Emotion, Oppositional defiant disorder, Childhood psychiatric disorders


OBJECTIVE No empirical studies on the DSM-5 proposed disruptive mood dysregulation disorder have yet been published. This study estimated prevalence, comorbidity, and correlates of this proposed disorder in the community. METHOD Prevalence rates were estimated using data from three community studies involving 7,881 observations of 3,258 participants from 2 to 17 years old. Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder was diagnosed using structured psychiatric interviews. RESULTS Three-month prevalence rates for meeting criteria for disruptive mood dysregulation disorder ranged from 0.8% to 3.3%, with the highest rate in preschoolers. Rates dropped slightly with the strict application of the exclusion criterion, but they were largely unaffected by the application of onset and duration criteria. Disruptive mood dysregulation co-occurred with all common psychiatric disorders. The highest levels of co-occurrence were with depressive disorders (odds ratios between 9.9 and 23.5) and oppositional defiant disorder (odds ratios between 52.9 and 103.0). Disruptive mood dysregulation occurred with another disorder 62%-92% of the time, and it occurred with both an emotional and a behavioral disorder 32%-68% of the time. Affected children displayed elevated rates of social impairments, school suspension, service use, and poverty. CONCLUSIONS Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder is relatively uncommon after early childhood, frequently co-occurs with other psychiatric disorders, and meets common standards for psychiatric “caseness.” This disorder identifies children with severe levels of both emotional and behavioral dysregulation.

Concepts: Scientific method, Psychology, Childhood, Mental disorder, Bipolar disorder, Psychiatry, Emotion, Oppositional defiant disorder


This review discusses neurobiological studies of oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder within the conceptual framework of three interrelated mental domains: punishment processing, reward processing, and cognitive control. First, impaired fear conditioning, reduced cortisol reactivity to stress, amygdala hyporeactivity to negative stimuli, and altered serotonin and noradrenaline neurotransmission suggest low punishment sensitivity, which may compromise the ability of children and adolescents to make associations between inappropriate behaviors and forthcoming punishments. Second, sympathetic nervous system hyporeactivity to incentives, low basal heart rate associated with sensation seeking, orbitofrontal cortex hyporeactiviy to reward, and altered dopamine functioning suggest a hyposensitivity to reward. The associated unpleasant emotional state may make children and adolescents prone to sensation-seeking behavior such as rule breaking, delinquency, and substance abuse. Third, impairments in executive functions, especially when motivational factors are involved, as well as structural deficits and impaired functioning of the paralimbic system encompassing the orbitofrontal and cingulate cortex, suggest impaired cognitive control over emotional behavior. In the discussion we argue that more insight into the neurobiology of oppositional defiance disorder and conduct disorder may be obtained by studying these disorders separately and by paying attention to the heterogeneity of symptoms within each disorder.

Concepts: Psychology, Neuroscience, Cerebrum, Limbic system, Emotion, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Oppositional defiant disorder


Objective: Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is the most common comorbid condition in childhood ADHD. This trial was prospectively designed to explore ODD symptoms in ADHD adults. Method: A total of 86 patients in this placebo-controlled, double-blind trial of methylphenidate transdermal system (MTS) were categorized based on the presence of ODD symptoms in childhood and adulthood, and then were compared for baseline and outcome differences. Results: In all, 42% met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.; DSM-IV) criteria for ODD as adults and were significantly more impaired on measures of ADHD, personality disorder, and substance abuse and 27% had childhood ODD that had resolved. Childhood and adult ODD symptoms were significantly correlated. ODD and ADHD symptoms improved significantly with MTS (p < .001), and the most consistently significant results were found in participants with adult ODD. Conclusion: A total of 69% met criteria for ODD as children and/or adults. Understanding how ODD interacts with ADHD to impact personality disorder, substance abuse, and treatment response has important clinical, social, and theoretical implications.

Concepts: Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Mental disorder, Borderline personality disorder, Methylphenidate, Oppositional defiant disorder, Adult, Coming of age, Adulthood


IMPORTANCE Disruptive behavior disorders, such as attention-deficient/hyperactivity disorder and oppositional defiant disorder, are common and stable throughout childhood. These disorders cause long-term morbidity but benefit from early intervention. While symptoms are often evident before preschool, few children receive appropriate treatment during this period. Group parent training, such as the Incredible Years program, has been shown to be effective in improving parenting strategies and reducing children’s disruptive behaviors. Because they already monitor young children’s behavior and development, primary care pediatricians are in a good position to intervene early when indicated. OBJECTIVE To investigate the feasibility and effectiveness of parent-training groups delivered to parents of toddlers in pediatric primary care settings. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS This randomized clinical trial was conducted at 11 diverse pediatric practices in the Greater Boston area. A total of 273 parents of children between 2 and 4 years old who acknowledged disruptive behaviors on a 20-item checklist were included. INTERVENTION A 10-week Incredible Years parent-training group co-led by a research clinician and a pediatric staff member. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Self-reports and structured videotaped observations of parent and child behaviors conducted prior to, immediately after, and 12 months after the intervention. RESULTS A total of 150 parents were randomly assigned to the intervention or the waiting-list group. An additional 123 parents were assigned to receive intervention without a randomly selected comparison group. Compared with the waiting-list group, greater improvement was observed in both intervention groups (P < .05). No differences were observed between the randomized and the nonrandomized intervention groups. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Self-reports and structured observations provided evidence of improvements in parenting practices and child disruptive behaviors that were attributable to participation in the Incredible Years groups. This study demonstrated the feasibility and effectiveness of parent-training groups conducted in pediatric office settings to reduce disruptive behavior in toddlers. TRIAL REGISTRATION Identifier: NCT00402857.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Parent, Childhood, Randomness, Parenting, Oppositional defiant disorder, Concerted cultivation, Parenting practices


Background:  Childhood behavioral disorders including conduct disorder (CD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often co-occur. Prior twin research shows that common sets of genetic and environmental factors are associated with these various disorders and they form a latent factor called Externalizing. The developmental propensity model posits that CD develops in part from socioemotional dispositions of Prosociality, Negative Emotionality, and Daring; and recent research has supported the expected genetic and environmental associations between these dispositions and CD. This study examined the developmental propensity model in relation to the broader Externalizing factor that represents the covariance among behavior disorders in children. Methods:  Parents of 686 six- to twelve-year-old twin pairs rated them on symptoms of CD, ADHD, and ODD using the disruptive behavior disorder scale and on Prosociality, Negative Emotionality, and Daring using the Child and Adolescent Dispositions Scale. A latent factor multivariate Cholesky model was used with each disposition latent factor comprised of respective questionnaire items and the Externalizing factor comprised of symptom dimensions of CD, ADHD inattention, ADHD hyperactivity/impulsivity, and ODD. Results:  Results supported the hypothesis that the socioemotional dispositions and the Externalizing factor have genetic factors in common, but there was not a single genetic factor associated with all of the constructs. As expected, nonshared environment factors were shared by the dispositions and Externalizing factor but, again, no single nonshared environmental factor was common to all constructs. A shared environmental factor was associated with both Negative Emotionality and Externalizing. Conclusions:  The developmental propensity model was supported and appears to extend to the broader externalizing spectrum of childhood disorders. Socioemotional dispositions of prosociality, negative emotionality, and (to a lesser extent) daring may contribute to the covariation among behavioral disorders and perhaps to their comorbid expression through common sets of primarily genetic but also environmental factors.

Concepts: Genetics, Environment, Child, Conduct disorder, Oppositional defiant disorder


The purpose of this study was to test the factor structure of the Inventory of Callous-Unemotional Traits (ICU; Frick, 2004 ) and to study the relation between the derived dimensions and external variables in a community sample of preschool children. A total of 622 children 3 and 4 years of age were assessed with a semistructured diagnostic interview, the ICU, and other questionnaires on psychopathology, temperament, and executive functioning, completed by parents and teachers. Confirmatory factor analysis derived from teachers' ICU responses yielded three dimensions: Callousness, Uncaring, and Unemotional. Callousness and Uncaring subscale scores correlated with the specific scales related to aggressive behavior, temperament, executive functioning, and conduct problems. The ICU scale scores discriminated cross-sectionally oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and conduct disorder (CD) diagnoses, aggressive and nonaggressive symptoms of CD, use of services, and ODD/CD-related family burden. Longitudinally, Callousness subscale score at age 3 predicted ODD or CD diagnosis at age 4. Unemotional was not associated with aggressive measures, but it was linked to anxiety disorders cross-sectionally and longitudinally. Callous-Unemotional traits contributed significantly to predicting disruptive behavior disorders controlling for sex, temperament, and executive functioning (predictive accuracy between 3 and 5%). The ICU is a promising questionnaire for identifying early Callous and Uncaring traits in preschool years that may help in the identification of a subset of preschool children who might have severe behavioral problems.

Concepts: Psychology, Confirmatory factor analysis, Conduct disorder, Oppositional defiant disorder


Irritability is a common symptom associated with several pediatric mental health disorders including depression, anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder. Recommended treatments may be significantly different based upon the target symptoms. Diagnostic clarification is achieved over time using screening tools, individual and family history, coordination with schools, and targeted observation.

Concepts: Psychology, Medicine, Medical terms, Greek loanwords, Symptoms, Mental disorder, Fatigue, Oppositional defiant disorder


Background: Disruptive behavioral disorders (DBD) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are both characterized by certain patterns of misbehavior among adolescents. Aims: The aim of this study was to examine how the comorbidity of DBD and ADHD affects in misbehavior among adolescents. Methods: A total of 158 adolescents aged 16-18 years, from a subsample of the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986 (NFBC 1986), were interviewed with the Finnish translation of the semi-structured Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children-Present and Lifetime (K-SADS-PL) in order to obtain DBD, including conduct disorder (CD) and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), and ADHD diagnoses. The structure of the CD symptoms, obtained from the K-SADS-PL, was compared with the previously formed model about the development of the problematic behavior. The severity of the CD symptoms was compared with adolescents diagnosed with only DBD, only ADHD and with both DBD and ADHD. Also, the associations with other psychiatric disorders diagnosed at age 16 were evaluated. Results: The boys in the study sample were diagnosed with ADHD or with comorbid DBD and ADHD more often than girls. The severity of CD symptoms was statistically significantly associated with the comorbid DBD and ADHD group. The adolescents diagnosed with comorbid DBD and ADHD had an increased risk for anxiety disorders, depressive disorders and substance abuse disorders. Conclusions: The comorbidity of DBD and ADHD seems to indicate the severity of CD symptoms. Clinical implications: The comorbidity between DBD and ADHD should be considered in clinical practice because it could indicate more serious problematic behavior than pure disorders alone.

Concepts: Psychology, Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Hyperactivity, Mental disorder, Human behavior, Major depressive disorder, Oppositional defiant disorder


Objective: To compare the results of categorically based versus dimensionally based scoring algorithms for a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.; DSM-IV)-referenced teacher rating scale for assessing ADHD and commonly co-occurring conditions and to determine their relative agreement with ratings of symptom-induced impairment. Method: Teachers completed Child and Adolescent Symptom Inventory-4R (CASI-4R) ratings for 1,092 youth (ages 6-18 years) referred to a child and adolescent psychiatry outpatient service. Caseness was determined according to DSM-IV symptom count (categorical model) and T-score (dimensional model) criteria. Results: Agreement between symptom count and T-score cutoffs was generally good (kappa ≥ 0.61) for ADHD-Inattentive, ADHD-Hyperactive-Impulsive, ADHD-Combined (except adolescent females), Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and Conduct Disorder, but this was not the case for anxiety and depressive disorders where only 15% of kappas were good. Agreement of impairment cutoff with T-score and symptom count cutoffs ranged from poor to good. Conclusion: In general, although in many cases CASI-4R categorical and dimensional scoring algorithms generated similar results, there was considerable variability across disorders, age groups, scoring method, and in some cases, gender. Moreover, symptom counts and T-scores are not a proxy for assessing impairment suggesting that each scoring strategy likely provides unique information for clinical decision-making. (J. of Att. Dis. 2013; XX(X) 1-XX).

Concepts: Model theory, Mental disorder, Major depressive disorder, Psychiatry, Antisocial personality disorder, Conduct disorder, Oppositional defiant disorder, Mathematical logic