chapter  5
29 Pages

Oppositional defiant disorder

While oppositional defiant disorder is primarily a disturbance of conduct, it has distinctive cognitive and affective features and is associated with particular social difficulties (Kazdin, 1997). With respect to cognition, there is a limited internalization of social rules and norms and a hostile attributional bias where the youngster interprets ambiguous social situations as threatening and responds with aggressive retaliative behaviour. With respect to affect, anger and irritability are the predominant mood states. With respect to social adjustment, the main relationship difficulties occur with parents and centre on the child's defiance of parental instructions to conform to rules for appropriate behaviour on the one hand and a difficulty in maintaining a warm and positive parent-child relationship on the other. Relationships with teachers may be problematic because of the child's defiance and problems with peer relationships may occur because of the child's aggression.