Development and etiology of disruptive and delinquent behavior

Rolf Loeber, Jeffrey D. Burke, Dustin A. Pardini

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

192 Scopus citations


This review examines the development and etiology of disruptive behavior [symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), conduct disorder (CD), and psychopathic features] and delinquency (particularly violence). We address selected key developmental issues, including (a) to what extent negative emotional ODD symptoms are associated with later internalizing disorders, (b) whether psychopathic features provide added predictive utility beyond traditional disruptive behaviors, and (c) the role of oppositional behavior and conduct problems in the development of violence. This review also focuses on the causes of ODD, CD, psychopathic features, and delinquency and explores the extent to which the causes of disruptive and delinquent behavior are the same. We examine the degree to which risk and promotive factors change with age and whether promotive factors buffer the impact of risk factors. Finally, we explore the question of whether there are developmental shifts in children's exposure to risk and promotive factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-310
Number of pages20
JournalAnnual Review of Clinical Psychology
StatePublished - Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Conduct problems
  • Delinquency
  • Development
  • Oppositional behavior
  • Psychopathic features

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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