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Conduct disorder and its synonyms: diagnoses of dubious validity and usefulness
Am J Psychiatry 1984;141:514-519.
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Psychiatrically hospitalized adolescents from city and voluntary services who had been diagnosed as having conduct disorder were compared with psychiatrically hospitalized adolescents who had never been so diagnosed. There were no significant symptomatic differences. The major factor distinguishing adolescents ever diagnosed as having conduct disorder was violence, regardless of other symptoms. The most common discharge diagnosis of those who had formerly been diagnosed as having conduct disorder was schizophrenia. However, even violence did not distinguish those discharged with a diagnosis of conduct disorder from those whose diagnoses were subsequently changed. With its focus on manifest behaviors and its lack of clear exclusionary criteria, the conduct disorder diagnosis obfuscates other potentially treatable neuropsychiatric disorders.

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