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Child Maltreat. 2013 Aug;18(3):195-204. doi: 10.1177/1077559513478144. Epub 2013 Feb 17.

Gender and the development of oppositional defiant disorder: contributions of physical abuse and early family environment.

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  • 1Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 41627, USA.


Research is needed to understand the role of gender in the stability, course and etiology of antisocial behavior. Family environment, given its proximal association with children's behavior, holds great promise in understanding risk for antisocial behavior. The present study examined the role of parental acceptance and emotional responsivity as assessed using the HOME, caregiver report of intimate partner violence (IPV), and levels of physical abuse as assessed using the Conflict Tactics Scales, on subsequent symptoms of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), a childhood disorder characterized by antisocial behavior. Data were drawn from Waves 1-3, cohorts 3 and 6 of the Project for Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods. Results suggest only minor gender differences in levels of ODD symptoms, with equal rates of stability from Wave 2 to 3 in symptom levels. For boys and girls, IPV was associated with an increased risk of ODD symptoms, and higher acceptance was associated with reduced risk of ODD symptoms. However, gender differences emerged in the impact of physical abuse and emotional responsiveness, in that the former was a significant predictor for girls only, and the latter was significant for boys only. Potential implications for these findings, including the role of gender socialization are discussed.


antisocial behavior; domestic/intimate partner violence; etiology; families; gender/sex differences; parenting

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