Interpersonal violence (IPV) is common in children with a disruptive behavior disorder (DBD) and increases the risk for greater DBD symptom severity, callous-unemotional (CU) traits, and neuroendocrine disruption. Thus, IPV may make it difficult to change symptom trajectories for families receiving DBD interventions given these relationships. The current study examined whether IPV prior to receiving treatment for a DBD predicted trajectories of a variety of associated outcomes, specifically DBD symptoms, CU traits, and cortisol concentrations. Boys with a DBD diagnosis (N=66; age range=6-11 years; 54.5% of whom experienced IPV prior to treatment) of either oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder participated in a randomized clinical trial and were assessed 3 years following treatment. Multilevel modeling demonstrated that prior IPV predicted smaller rates of change in DBD symptoms, CU traits, and cortisol trajectories, indicating less benefit from intervention. The effect size magnitudes of IPV were large for each outcome (d=0.88-1.07). These results suggest that IPV is a predictor of the long-term treatment response for boys with a DBD. Including trauma-focused components into existing DBD interventions may be worth testing to improve treatment effectiveness for boys with a prior history of IPV.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health