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conduct disorders.jpg

Conduct disorder (CD), a complex and common psychiatric disorder, is known for its aggressive and destructive behavior. The biological, psychological, as well as social factors that contribute to the development and progression of CD are numerous. Although researchers have identified many risk factors that can help predict CD, they are not often taken into account in isolation. is a new study that uses machine-learning to evaluate risk factors in all three domains and predict the development of CD later.

Elsevier published the study in Biological Psychiatry.

Researchers used baseline data from more than 2,300 children aged 9-10 who were enrolled in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study (ABCD) Study. This longitudinal study follows the biopsychosocial development and is based on over 2,300 children. Researchers "trained" the machine-learning model by using risk factors that had been identified across multiple biopsychosocial domains. Measures included brain imaging (biological), cognitive capabilities (psychological), family characteristics (social). With over 90% accuracy, the model predicted CD's development two years later.

Cameron Carter, MD is the Editor of Biological Psychiatry. Cognitive Neuroscience. and Neuroimaging. He said about the study: "These striking findings using task-based functional MRI (to investigate the function of reward system) suggest that children of depressed mothers might be more at risk of later depression if their mothers respond to their children's emotions than if the mother's mood .

Researchers and healthcare workers would be able to predict with accuracy who may develop CD. This could help them design interventions for at-risk young people that can minimize or even eliminate the negative effects of CD on their families.

Arielle Baskin Sommers, senior author at Yale University, New Haven CT, USA, said, "“Findings from our study highlight the added value of combining neural, social, and psychological factors to predict conduct disorder, a burdensome psychiatric problem in youth,” said senior author Arielle Baskin-Sommers, PhD at Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA. “These findings offer promise for developing more precise identification and intervention approaches that consider the multiple factors that contribute to this disorder. They also highlight the utility of leveraging large, open-access datasets, such as ABCD, that collect measures about the individual across levels of analysis.”


Deni D

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass.
Staff member
I'm a data person, this study seems to be marginally scraping at CD disorder type diagnoses. As far as I can see there's nothing "striking" about these findings, and as far as machine learning, "garbage in, garbage out" tends to rule, like "ya know if the kids are adopted or the mom or dad can't manage to be both parents the kids are at risk", ya think? I guess I could say it's a start but last I checked it's 2022, not 1970. My personal opinion is all this proves is mental health is amazing lacking. Also my personal opinion is these type of "studies" are over funded, the money would be much better spent helping children and parents.


I think we are going to see (or it’s probably already started) a whole new wave of conduct disorders, brought on especially by the pandemic, but also due to the war in Ukraine, major divisions in our country and all the other stressors our kids are having to deal with today.

Not having the maturity or experience to deal with these once in a lifetime issues that are hitting them all at once, they will act out, as kids do, rebel, perhaps self-medicate. Who could blame them for wanting to escape? Theirs is such a different world than the one most of us were raised in.

I recently watched an episode of a news show and teenagers were describing what they have lost due to the pandemic in terms of what they would normally get at school. My kids are grown, so it’s been awhile since I viewed something from a teen’s perspective, but it really opened my eyes to their pain. Of course they mentioned the education they lost, but the social losses were even more important to them, as is also the opinion of many educators.

One girl said she had actually lost friends because there just was no way to stay in touch with them. And most of the girls stated they were still depressed or anxious even though school is back in-person. Our nation’s children in some ways have been traumatized. There will be a lot of acting out.

And suddenly, I remember being the parent of a teen and feeling even more empathy for those parents who had to battle with their children to do the online learning when it was required. One girl said she was formerly a straight A student and when school went online, she lost the drive to do anything and failed all her classes.

Some of these issues might seem small to those of us who deal with pretty heavy mental illness and drug abuse in our kids, but what‘s similar is the way the child could possibly act out, and that behavior could lead to all kinds of unfortunate consequences, for which many of us find ourselves here.

You are so right, Deni, how our mental health system is severely lacking and there is such a need for good mental health services now more than ever. I think in the coming years as the children of the pandemic age, we are going to see just how inadequate our mental health system was.