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Reliable Tests Available to Diagnose Children with ODD and CD

Preschool children who show symptoms of ODD and CD can be assessed using sound diagnostic criteria.


Most symptoms of oppositional defiant and compulsive disorders, as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV, can be reliably and validly assessed in preschool children, a new study shows. Researchers hope the results will enable them to better learn how symptoms of ODD and CD manifest in 3- to 5-year-old children.

One hundred children and their mothers participated in the study, held at a child and adolescent psychiatry clinic. The mothers were interviewed about current ODD and CD symptoms, and both mothers and teachers completed measures of impairment.

Twenty-five percent of the interviews were then randomly selected and coded by a second rater to test interrater reliability. A separate sample of 31 children was recruited for a 1-week test-retest study. Overall, the results showed moderate to high reliability of the DSM's descriptions of ODD and CD, regardless of the age or sex of the child.

The results add to the literature on best methods of assessment of preschool psychopathology.

The study was published in the April 2007 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

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