Stirling Behavioral Health Institute

  Mental Health Services Provider

  6931 Van Nuys Blvd. #102 

  Phone (818) 376-0134 
  Fax (818) 376-1437

A conduct disorder refers to any of a group of serious emotional and behavioral problems in children and adolescents.

Children with conduct disorders frequently behave in extremely troubling, socially unacceptable, and often illegal ways. They feel justified in their actions and show little to no empathy for their victims. Others may view these children as simply “bad boys” or “bad girls,” without realizing they have a mental disorder.

Conduct disorder symptoms most commonly begin by the age of 16. Some children who have conduct disorder go on to develop a similar condition known as antisocial personality disorder as adults.


Symptoms of conduct disorder generally fall into four categories:

1) Aggressive behavior toward people and animals. This includes bullying, threatening, physical violence, use of a weapon, physical cruelty to people or animals, and forcing someone to perform a sexual act.

2) Property destruction, including setting fires, painting graffiti (tagging) and purposefully destroying property.

3) Deceit or theft, including lying, breaking into someone else’s property with the intent to steal, and shoplifting.

4) Serious violations of rules, including breaking family rules, running away from home, and frequently skipping school before the age of 13.

For a diagnosis of conduct disorder, at least three of these behaviors must have occurred within the past year, with at least one of them occurring within the past six months. The number of symptoms exhibited, and the degree of injury or damage done, determines whether it is a case of mild, moderate, or severe conduct disorder.


Image description