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Oppositional Defiant Disorder

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Updated October 29, 2008

Definition:

Oppositional defiant disorder is a psychological disorder of childhood that is characterized by a pattern of negative, defiant, disobedient and hostile behavior toward authority figures. In order to meet the criteria for oppositional defiant disorder, a child must have symptoms of the disorder for at least six months and at least four of the following symptoms:

  • often loses temper
  • often argues with adults
  • often actively defies or refuses to comply with adults’ requests or rules
  • often deliberately annoys people
  • often blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior
  • is often touchy or easily annoyed by others
  • is often angry and resentful
  • is often spiteful and vindictive

Symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder are usually present before the age of 8, and rarely appear later than early adolescence. Children who have oppositional defiant disorder often later develop conduct disorder.

Sources:

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.

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