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Unformatted text preview: Children, Crime, and Mental Health: Conduct Disorders & Child Psychopathy Presented By: Alicia Deal Objectives What is conduct disorder? What is child psychopathy? Relationship between CD & child psychopathy What is CD? "a complicated group of behavioral & emotional problems in children & adolescents" (American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry) The most severe & one of the most common mental disorders in children Criminal Symptoms Aggression toward people and/or animals Destruction of property Lying or deceitfulness Stealing Runs away from home Often truant from school Other serious violations of rules Prevalence 1 in 10 children may have CD 616% in boys 29% in girls Most conduct problems do not continue into adulthood However, research has shown that CD in children does put the child at a higher risk of committing crimes as adults Conditions that may coexist with CD ADHD Depression Anxiety Learning disabilities Substance abuse Theories of what causes CD
Environment (Nurture) Child abusemost popularly believed to cause CD School failure Traumatic life experiences Brain damage sustained during the child's young life Genetic predisposition (Nature) Research has been done on twins to determine whether genetics plays a role in the development of CD Study done by Coolidge showed a 68% hereditability Study done by Slutske showed a 71% hereditability Both Although CD is more common in those whose parents have had CD, it is believed that other factors contribute to its development including: Deficits in processing social information or social cues Possible rejection by their peers at a young age Children at Risk "fussy infants" Inconsistent rules and harsh punishment Frequent change in caregivers Lack of enough supervision or guidance Poverty Neglect or abuse Being in a delinquent peer group Problems with child psychopathy Difficult to define because: Many people do not acknowledge that a child could be a psychopath
Say that is morally wrong Believe that it is unfair to the child
-Little research done on child psychopathy because it is not widely recognized in the medical field -Also many psychopathic traits overlap with other childhood disorders -Most children aren't recognized as being a psychopath until they commit or attempt to commit murder Common traits Mother exposed to deprivation or abuse as a child A transient father or the family migrates frequently Low birth weight or birth complications Hyperactivity Absence of fear of strangers Easily distracted Cruelty to others Animal abuse Lack of remorse for hurting someone Grandiosity Irresponsibility Susceptibility to boredom Unable to recognize fearful and sad expressions Notice how many of these traits overlap other childhood disorders Children with psychopathic characters are more likely to be habitual offenders and are prone to committing the most serious offenses Causes: Common Theories Genes Environment most common is child abuse Abnormal brain activity make certain associations more slowly than others show less fear of punishment appear to need to do things that stimulate their nervous system research done by D. Stevens on children that are blind to fearful and sad expressions suggest an impairment in the amygdala, structure in the located in the temporal lobes malfunctioning in the prefrontal cortex have smaller heart rate changes & skin conductance changes in response to fear provoking situations suggests a problem with the processes that trigger emotions Interplay between genes and environment most common Psychological Screening Device (PSD) Developed by Robert Hare and colleagues A rating scale to detect psychopathic behavior in children Study done by Fisher & Blair suggests that the PSD is effective in the prediction of future psychopaths Relationship between child psychopaths & CD Donald Lyman & P.J. Frick did separate studies that show that children with both conduct problems(CD/ODD) and hyperactivity(ADHD) are more prone to becoming psychopaths in their adult lives These children exhibit antisocial behavior at an earlier age & their behavioral problems are more frequent and severe Treatment for CD One of the most difficult to treat successfully However it is more effective when detected early in the child's life Most effective methods are: Family based interventions such as parent training and family therapy Individual focused interventions such as behavior therapy and anger management Community systems based interventions School based interventions such as special education for those wit h learning disabilities Medication for those who have difficulty paying attention, with impulse problems or depression Treatments are even more effective when combined together to address all problems that the child may be having Treatment for Child Psychopathy Difficult to treat possibly because of the little research conducted on these children Has been suggested that good parenting can halt its development even though the child may have a genetic predisposition Techniques for CD can be used on child psychopathy due to the relationship between the two and the overlapping of symptoms It is also more effective when detected early ...
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- Spring '08