Date of Award

1988

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Marion J. Merchant

Second Advisor

Donald P. Gillespie

Third Advisor

Thesba N. Johnston

Abstract

Problem. Dissatisfaction with the DSM-III classification of conduct disorder has led the editors of the DSM-III-R to group the socialized and undersocialized, aggressive and the undersocialized, nonaggressive conduct-disorderd youth together in the same category (Solitary Aggressive Type). However, the symptoms and behavior of aggressive and nonaggressive youth are so diverse, they should be placed in totally separate categories. The implications of misdiagnosis are serious for rehabilitation and treatment.

Method. One hundred-thirty male adolescents labeled aggressive and nonaggressive conduct-disordered were administered the SCL-90-R. The Chi-square test determined what percentage in each group scored at the 70th percentile or above in the category of Psychoticism. The t-test determined if there was a significant difference between the two groups in the categories of Depression, Hostility, Anxiety, and on the Global Severity Index. Stepwise and best subsets regression determined a model for predicting conduct disorder. The correlation between each of the 10 items and the total scores in the two categories that made up the model was examined.

Results. Psychoticism and Obsessive-Compulsive made up the model for predicting conduct disorder. While 83.9% of the aggressive group scored at the 70th percentile or above in the category of Psychoticism, only 17.6% of the nonaggressive group scored that high. The t-test showed a significant difference between the two groups in the categories of Depression, Hostility, Anxiety, and on the Global Severity Index.

Conclusions. The results of the SCL-90-R indicate that aggressive and nonaggressive conduct-disordered youth are so diverse in frequency and intensity of symptoms, they should not be placed in the same diagnostic category, and treatment must vary to prevent recidivism.

Subject Area

Adolescent psychiatry, Behavior disorders in children.

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