Oppositionality and socio-emotional competence: interacting risk factors in the development of childhood conduct disorder symptoms

Mandy, William, Skuse, David, Steer, Colin, St Pourcain, Beate and Oliver, Bonamy R (2013) Oppositionality and socio-emotional competence: interacting risk factors in the development of childhood conduct disorder symptoms. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 52 (7). pp. 718-727. ISSN 0890-8567

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Abstract

Objectives: Oppositional behaviour in childhood is a probabilistic risk factor for the subsequent development of more serious conduct problems characteristic of conduct disorder (CD). The capacity to understand the subjective states of others (socio-emotional competence) helps regulate anti-social behaviour in typical development. We hypothesised that socio-emotional competence moderates the developmental relationship between oppositionality and CD symptoms, such that oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) symptoms pose the greatest risk for subsequent CD symptoms in children with poor socio-emotional competence.
Methods: Parent-report data were collected for 6218 children at 7 and 10 years. Bootstrap multiple regression predicting CD symptoms at age 10 was used to test for an interaction between socio-emotional competence and ODD symptoms, whilst also accounting for direct effects, and controlling for sex, maternal education, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms and CD symptoms at 7 years. We further tested whether the interaction applies to both males and females, and to both aggressive and rule-breaking CD symptoms.
Results: A significant interaction was found between ODD and socio-emotional competence: the association between oppositionality at 7 years and CD traits at 10 years was strongest for children with poor socio-emotional capacities. As predicted, this moderation effect was significant in a model predicting aggression, but it was not significant for rule-breaking CD symptoms.
Conclusion: Socio-emotional competence moderates the developmental relationship between mid-childhood oppositionality and more serious conduct problems in later childhood. A capacity to understand the subjective states of others may buffer the risk posed by oppositionality for later CD symptoms, including aggression.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Depositing User: Bonamy Oliver
Date Deposited: 07 May 2013 12:46
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2013 14:49
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/44650
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