Functional impairment associated with symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder in preschool and early school boys and girls from the general population
AbstractObjective: To explore whether the symptoms and diagnosis of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), as defined in the DSM-IV, are equally impairing for girls and boys from the general population in the early school years. Method: A sample of 852 three to seven-year-old schoolchildren were screened out for a double-phase design. A total of 251 families were assessed with a diagnostic interview and with measures of functional impairment. Results: ODD symptoms and diagnosis were equally prevalent in boys and girls, but three- to five-year-old girls had a higher prevalence of subthreshold ODD. There were no significant differences between boys and girls in the impact on use of services, treatment received and family burden associated with ODD symptoms and diagnosis. Although diagnosis of ODD was not associated with higher functional impairment by sex, individual symptoms and subthreshold diagnosis were more impairing for boys than for girls. Conclusion: Oppositionality may be measuring different things for boys and girls, and this possibility must be taken into account with a view to the correct identification of this problem in each sex.
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