Conduct Disorder amongst Children in an Urban School in Nigeria

  • AI Frank-Briggs
  • EAD Alikor
Keywords: Conduct disorder, urban schools, children.


Background: Conduct disorder is a childhood behavioral disorder characterized by aggressive and destructive activities that cause disruptions in the child's natural environments such as home, school, church, or the neighbourhood. It is a source of concern to the clinicians as it is comorbid with other mental disorders, particularly anxiety, depression and learning disabilities. The aim of this research was to evaluate the prevalence of conduct disorder amongst secondary school children in urban schools in Port Harcourt.
Method: A structured questionnaire based on Vanderbilt ADHD Diagnostic Teacher Rating Scale for oppositional defiant and conduct disorder symptoms was used. A list of signs taken from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual text revision (American Psychiatric Association, 2000) that indicates a child may have Conduct Disorder was also used. A child must show a pattern of at least three of these behaviour groups for at least a year before the diagnosis was considered. The questionnaires administered to the students were filled with the assistance of the researchers and the classroom teachers. Direct verbal interview was conducted for those noted to have signs of conduct disorder.
Result: There were 885 students studied and 140 were diagnosed with conduct disorder, giving a prevalence of 15.82%. The age range of the entire students ranged from 9-18 years with a modal age of 13 years. Sex distribution of those with the conduct disorder was 112 males and 28 females (male: female ratio of 4:1). The various behaviours exhibited included bullying and or threatening classmates and other students, poor school attendance, stealing, and poor academic performance.
Conclusions: The prevalence of conduct disorder amongst school children is high. Poor academic performance and other associated comorbidities impair the quality of life of these children. Early identification and appropriate treatment will improve the course of this behavioral disorder.

Keywords: Conduct disorder, urban schools, children.

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 1597-4292