What is conduct disorder? Conduct disorder is a childhood psychological disorder in which a child demonstrates a persistent pattern of behavior, which violates the basic rights of others or disregards major societal norms or rules.
To meet criteria for conduct disorder, the child must demonstrate at least three of the following behaviors over the past year (with at least one occurring in the past 6 months): aggression to people or animals, destruction of property (e.g., setting fires), deceitfulness or theft (e.g., persistent lying or "conning" others) or serious rule violations (e.g., running away from home).
Conduct disorder may have either a childhood (any criteria met prior to age 10 years) or adolescent (no criteria are met until after age 10 years) onset. Kids with adolescent onset conduct disorder are more likely to recover. Children diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder often later develop conduct disorder. There is a great deal of overlap between conduct disorder symptoms and symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD). Some experts argue that some children labeled with conduct disorder have been misdiagnosed and are actually better described as having BPD.
American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR Fourth Edition. American Psychiatric Association, 2000.
Friedel RO. Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified: An Essential Guide for Understanding and Living with BPD. Da Capo Press; 2004.