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Last Updated on : 21st Apr, 2016
 
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Disruptive Behavior Problems - Adolescents

Rule breaking, defiance, and generally "acting out" are some of the defining features of a group of disorders referred to as child and adolescent disruptive behavior problems. Please see the sections below (as well as the left menu box) for more information about these difficulties and to learn about the best-supported treatment options.

What are Disruptive Behavior Problems?

Children and adolescents with disruptive behavior problems may engage in various behaviors which are deemed to be inappropriate or which negatively impact their environment, such as stealing, arguing, lying, etc. These behaviors may also impede an adolescent's or child's ability to learn or interact successfully in society and/or with peers.

These problems are generally a source of great concern for parents as they often seriously disrupt family life, result in disciplinary problems at school, and even trouble with the police.

The two main types of disruptive behavior disorders, Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Conduct Disorder (CD), cover several different types of problem behaviors. Although the various treatment recommendations are listed under each of these separate disorders, often these interventions can be successfully implemented to address specific problem behaviors (e.g., aggression, disregard for rules, etc.).

As can be seen below, Family-Focused, Multicomponent Treatments currently have the most research evidence for the treatment of disruptive behavior problems in adolescents. As can also be seen, the research is quite complex in this area and many different treatments have been shown to be effective.

Levels Treatment Name Specific programs Target Population
Level 1: Works Well Combined behavioral therapy, CBT, and family therapy    
  Multisystemic therapy JJ-involved
  Treatment foster care Oregon JJ-involved
     
     
Level 2: Works CBT    
  Aggression replacement training and positive peer culture JJ-involved
  Solution focused group program JJ-involved
Combined behavioral therapy, CBT, and family therapy    
  Functional family therapy JJ-involved
  Multisystemic therapy Disruptive behavior (not JJ-involved)
Level 3: Might work Behavior therapy/parenting skills Several programs* Disruptive behavior (not JJ-involved)
CBT One program* JJ-involved
Combined behavioral therapy and CBT Several programs* Disruptive behavior (not JJ-involved)
Level 4: Experimental Behavior therapy/parenting skills Several programs* Disruptive behavior (not JJ-involved)
CBT Several programs* School/ classroom disruption
Family therapy One program* Disruptive behavior (not JJ-involved)
Mentoring One program* School/ classroom disruption
Combined behavioral therapy and CBT Several programs* Disruptive behavior (not JJ-involved)
  Several programs* JJ-involved
Combined behavioral therapy and CBT Several programs* Disruptive behavior (not JJ-involved)
  Several programs* JJ-involved
Combined CBT and mindfullness One program* Disruptive behavior (not JJ-involved)
Combined behavioral therapy and attachment based therapy One program* Disruptive behavior (not JJ-involved)
  One program* JJ-involved
Combined behavioral therapy, CBT, and family therapy One program* Disruptive behavior (not JJ-involved)
  One program* JJ-involved
Combined behavioral therapy, CBT, and wraparound One program* Disruptive behavior (not JJ-involved)
  One program* JJ-involved
Level 5: Tested and does not work Behavior therapy/parenting skills Positive family support family check up Disruptive behavior (not JJ-involved)
  Contingency management Disruptive behavior (not JJ-involved)
  Relaxation JJ-involved
CBT Motivational interviewing JJ-involved
  Positive life changes Disruptive behavior (not JJ-involved)
  Safer Teens Disruptive behavior (not JJ-involved)
Psychodynamic Human relations training Disruptive behavior (not JJ-involved)
Combined behavioral therapy and CBT Aggression replacement training plus token economy JJ-involved
  Anger control training plus behavior management Disruptive behavior (not JJ-involved)
Combined humanistic, bibliotherapy, psychodynamic and CBT Counseling intervention School/ classroom disruption

For full listing of all programs and more details, please see article: McCart, M. & Sheidow, A. (in press). Evidence-based psychosocial treatments for adolescents with disruptive behavior. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology.

Source: McCart, M. & Sheidow, A. (in press). Evidence-based psychosocial treatments for adolescents with disruptive behavior. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology.

Notes: CBT=cognitive behavioral therapy, JJ-involved =juvenile justice involved

 
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