3.3.1 Conduct disorder

Conduct disorder is the term for a cluster of antisocial behaviours in which the key features are repetitive and persistent violation of age-appropriate social norms and the rights of others, and typically results in illegal behaviour 1. Factors associated with the emergence of conduct disorder include parental history of criminality, substance abuse, and/or psychiatric disorder, marital discord, “hostile rejecting parenting”, and a lack of supervision of the child. Conduct disorder is highly predictive of later criminality, particularly for males 2,3.

About five percent of 11 year olds meet the diagnostic criteria for conduct disorder. While an ethnic breakdown of that statistic is not available, among 16-18 year olds in New Zealand, the rate among Ma-ori is 11.3% and in non-Ma-ori, 4% 4.

1 Working with children and young people with mental health problems, and their families and whanau (2002) Child, Youth and Family, Wellington.

2 Fergusson David M & Horwood L John (2002) Male and female offending trajectories Development and Psychopathology, 2002: 14: 159-177.

3 White Jennifer L, Moffitt Terrie E, Earls Felton, Robins lee & Silva Phil A. (1990) How early can we tell? Predictors of child conduct disorder and adolescent delinquency. Criminology, Vol. 28, No.4 pp 507-533.

4 Child, Youth & Family (2002), op.cit.