Psychological Medicine

Original Articles

The outcome of childhood conduct disorder: implications for defining adult personality disorder and conduct disorder

Mark Zoccolilloa1 c1, Andrew Picklesa1, David Quintona1 and Michael Ruttera1

a1 MRC Child Psychiatry Unit, Institute of Psychiatry, London


The effect of conduct disorder on adult social functioning in the areas of work, sexual/love relationships, social relationships and criminality was studied in a sample of young adults who spent much of their childhoods in group-cottage children's homes and an inner-city comparison group. Most subjects with conduct disorder had pervasive (but not necessarily severe) social difficulties compared to peers without conduct disorder. Less than half of this group met DSM-III adult criteria for antisocial personality disorder and just over half were given a diagnosis of personality disorder on interviewer clinical ratings. A latent class model that used both the retrospective and contemporaneous indicators of conduct disorder confirmed the very high continuity with adult social difficulties. Current diagnoses did not adequately describe this group and conduct disorder appeared to be an almost necessary condition for multiple social disability in adults in these samples.


c1 Address for correspondence: Dr Mark Zoccolillo, UCHSC, Suite 120, 1611 S. Federal Boulevard, Denver, CO 80219, USA.