Individual Presentation

First Presenter's Institution

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Second Presenter's Institution


Third Presenter's Institution


Fourth Presenter's Institution


Fifth Presenter's Institution



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Strand #1

Social & Emotional Skills

Strand #2

Mental & Physical Health


Social and Emotional Skills: The focus of this presentation is on examining conduct disorder from a systemic lens to better target interventions to address the systemic nature of the diagnosis. The symptoms associated with conduct disorder effect far more than the individual diagnosed with them and include poor social interactions, interpersonal aggression, and poor education outcomes. In addition to the social, individual, and community ramifications of individuals diagnosed with conduct disorder, there is also evidence that youth-at-risk, especially urban youth of color, are disproportionately diagnosed with conduct disorder. With the knowledge presented in this sessions individuals will be better equipped to understand what conduct disorder is (and isn’t), and the evidence based system practices that are can implemented across settings to support the social and emotional growth of these youth.

Mental and Physical Health: Conduct Disorder is linked to poor mental health and physical health outcomes for the youth who fit criteria for the diagnosis. This presentation utilizes Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Model (Bronnfenbrenner, 1981) to highlight the multilayer effects that this diagnosis can have including increased risk of injury to self and others, in addition to a large burden on families and communities. Individuals attending this session will gain a better understanding of the mental health diagnosis of conduct disorder, the most recent neurobiological understanding that we have concerning emotional regulation and impulse control, and how this affects youth and the communities they live in. Individuals working in all settings with youth-at-risk should have an understanding of this extremely common diagnosis and what it means for the youth in their lives.

Brief Program Description

This presentation explores the systemic nature of conduct disorder and the effect it has on individuals, educational settings, and communities. It address the systemic nature of the diagnosis through Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Model and looks at interventions for each layer of the model. This presentation also acknowledges the disproportionate rate of youth-at-risk, especially male youth of color diagnosed with conduct disorder.


Conduct disorder has become an increasing burden on families, communities, and school systems in the United States (Barry, Golmaryami, Rivera-Hudson, & Frick, 2013; Baker, 2009). Conduct disorder has been associated with an increase in rates of injury, vehicular accidents, poor educational outcomes, interpersonal aggression, and is a predictor of future violent behavior (Henggeler, Cunningham, Pickrel, Schoenwald, & Brondino, 1996; Potter, 2014; Barry, Golmaryami, Rivera-Hudson, & Frick, 2013). It is imperative that valid, reliable, and consistent screening and interventions for this disorder are available and utilized. This article addresses the systemic nature of the symptomology and interventions most effective with conduct disorder. A case study is utilized to highlight Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Model (Bronfenbrenner, 1981) and how it can be used as a tool to conceptualize the systematic natural of conduct disorder.

Conduct disorder is a clinical diagnosis that is seen regularly in community mental health and educational settings, especially serving urban youth (Von Sydow, Retzlaff, Beher, Haun, & Schweitzer, 2013). Conduct disorder in broad terms is a pattern of behavior exhibited by an individual that harms property, persons, or animals; this pattern of behavior is habitual and exhibited in many domains of the youth’s life (Von Sydow et al., 2013) The systematic effects of conduct disorder are evident in the fair reaching damage that can be caused by the symptomology which is characterized by the violation of the rights of others. It is also helpful to conceptualize the assessment methods from a systems perspective. One of the most common methods of assessing conduct disorder is a multi-informant approach which seeks to have input across settings in the youth’s life (Barry, Golmaryami, Rivera-Hudson & Frick, 2013). The most effective forms of intervention for conduct disorder currently involve multifaceted interventions that include stakeholders in multiple settings of the youth’s life intervening in a consistent manner (Barry, Golmaryami, Rivera-Hudson & Frick, 2013; Von Sydow, et al., 2013; Frick, 2001; Borduin et. Al., 1995; Henggeler, Melton, & Smith, 1992; Scherer, Brondino, Henggeler, & Melton, 1994; Cone, et al., 1995;).


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC

Baker, K. (2009). Conduct disorders in children and adolescents. Paediatrics and Child Health, 19 (2),73–78. doi:10.1016/j.paed.2008.10.008

Barry, C. T., Golmaryami, F. N., Rivera-Hudson, N., & Frick, P. J. (2013). Evidence-based assessment of conduct disorder: Current considerations and preparation for DSM-5. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 44 (1), 56–63. doi:10.1037/a0029202

Bronfenbrenner, U. (1981). The Ecology of Human Development : Experiments by Nature and Design. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Bronfenbrenner, U. (1994). Ecological models of human development. (2nd) In International Encyclopedia of Education, Vol. 3. Ed. Oxford: Elsevier.

Borduin, C. M., Mann, B. J., Cone, L. T., Henggeler, S. W., Fucci, B. R., Blaske, D. M. & Williams, R. A. (1995). Multisystemic treatment of serious juvenile offenders: Long- term prevention of criminality and violence. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 63, 569-578.

Cone, L. T., Borduin, C. M., Mann, B. J., Henggeler, S. W., Fucci, B. R., Blaske, D. M., & Williams, R. A. (1995). Multisystemic Treatment of Serious Juvenile Offenders : Long-Term Prevention of Criminality and Violence, 63(4), 569–578.

Dadds, M. R., Fraser, J., Frost, A., & Hawes, D. J. (2005). Disentangling the Underlying Dimensions of Psychopathy and Conduct Problems in Childhood: A Community Study. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73(3), 400–410. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.73.3.400

Frick, P. J. (2001). Effective Interventions for Children and Adolescents with Conduct Disorder. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 46(7), 597.

Scherer, D. G., Brondino, M. J., Henggeler, S. W., & Melton, G. B. (1994). Multisystemic Family Preservation Therapy: Preliminary findings from a study of rural and minority serious adolescent offenders. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 2(4), 198–206.

Henggeler, S., Cunningham, P., Pickrel, S., Schoenwald, S., & Brondino, M. (1996). Multisystemic therapy: an effective violence prevention approach for serious juvenile offenders. Journal of Adolescence, 19(1), 47–61.

Henggeler, S. W., Rodick, J. D., Borduin, C. M., Hanson, C. L., Watson, S. M. & Urey, J. R. (1986). Multisystemic treatment of juvenile offenders: Effects on adolescent behavior and family interaction. Developmental Psychology, 22, 132-141.

Henggeler, S. W., Melton, G. B. & Smith, L. A. (1992). Family preservation using multisystemic therapy: An effective alter- native to incarcerating serious juvenile offenders. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 60, 953-961

McKenzie, M. E., & Lee, S. S. (2014). Cognitive Ability and Psychopathic Traits: Independent and Interactive Associations with Youth Conduct Problems. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. doi:10.1007/s10802-014-9932-3

Potter, D. A. (2014). Acting up and acting out: Conduct Disorder and competing media frames. Deviant Behavior, 35(2), 152–172. doi:10.1080/01639625.2013.834753

Von Sydow, K., Retzlaff, R., Beher, S., Haun, M. W., & Schweitzer, J. (2013). The Efficacy of Systemic Therapy for Childhood and Adolescent Externalizing Disorders: A Systematic Review of 47 RCT. Family Process, 52(4), 576–618.

Biographical Sketch

Charmayne Adams is a clinical mental health counselor and a 2nd year doctoral student in the University of Tennessee, Knoxville Counselor Education program. She has worked with youth-at-risk in many capacities including in schools, in-patient, and community mental health settings. She presented last year at this conference on emotional regulation and attachment, which is an additional research interest of hers. Charmayne has found a passion in the intersection between counseling and social justice issues, especially those concerning individuals who have been victims of traumatic experience. Her hope is to engage colleagues and students in the national conversation on race, ethnicity, and role of counselors as advocates for change.

Keyword Descriptors

Conduct Disorder, Emotional Regulation, Ecological Model, System's Thoery

Presentation Year


Start Date

3-6-2018 1:00 PM

End Date

3-6-2018 2:15 PM

Mar 6th, 1:00 PM Mar 6th, 2:15 PM

Systemic Perspective of Conduct Disorder in Adolescents

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This presentation explores the systemic nature of conduct disorder and the effect it has on individuals, educational settings, and communities. It address the systemic nature of the diagnosis through Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Model and looks at interventions for each layer of the model. This presentation also acknowledges the disproportionate rate of youth-at-risk, especially male youth of color diagnosed with conduct disorder.