Predicting Treatment Response for Oppositional Defiant and Conduct Disorder Using Pre-Treatment Adrenal and Gonadal Hormones

Chad E. Shenk, Lorah D. Dorn, David J. Kolko, Elizabeth J. Susman, Jennie G. Noll, Oscar G. Bukstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


Variations in adrenal and gonadal hormone profiles have been linked to increased rates of oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and conduct disorder (CD). These relationships suggest that certain hormone profiles may be related to how well children respond to psychological treatments for ODD and CD. The current study assessed whether pre-treatment profiles of adrenal and gonadal hormones predicted response to psychological treatment of ODD and CD. One hundred five children, 6-11 years old, participating in a randomized, clinical trial provided samples for cortisol, testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone, and androstenedione. Diagnostic interviews of ODD and CD were administered up to 3 years post-treatment to track treatment response. Group-based trajectory modeling identified two trajectories of treatment response: (1) a High-response trajectory where children demonstrated lower rates of an ODD or CD diagnosis throughout follow-up, and (2) a Low-response trajectory where children demonstrated higher rates of an ODD or CD diagnosis throughout follow-up. Hierarchical logistic regression predicting treatment response demonstrated that children with higher pre-treatment concentrations of testosterone were four times more likely to be in the Low-response trajectory. No other significant relationship existed between pre-treatment hormone profiles and treatment response. These results suggest that higher concentrations of testosterone are related to how well children diagnosed with ODD or CD respond to psychological treatment over the course of 3 years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)973-981
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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