The relationship between depression, self-esteem, trauma, and psychopathy in understanding conduct disordered adolescents

Iren S Valentine, Pace University

Abstract

Conduct Disordered children and adolescents are those who are aggressive, destroy property, defy authority, and often frighten and disturb adults. They are very difficult to treat therapeutically and a number of them continue to demonstrate high levels of problematic behaviors throughout their lifetime. Conduct Disorder is a devastating mental health problem with multiple social ramifications. Research in the area of Conduct Disorder is crucial so that we can augment our knowledge of this psychiatric disturbance and develop treatment interventions. Existing research has identified significant factors that appear to be promising in furthering our understanding of Conduct Disorder. Some of these factors include depression, trauma, self-esteem, and psychopathy. ^ In the present study the relationship between depression, self-esteem, trauma, and psychopathy are analyzed as possible factors in furthering our understanding of Conduct Disorder. The sample consisted of 61 adolescents (36 females/25 males), ages 12 to 18, carrying a primary diagnosis of Conduct Disorder. Participants were drawn from a residential treatment center primarily serving inner-city youths. The participants completed a battery of paper-and-pencil questionnaires consisting of a background information sheet, the Reynolds Adolescent Depression Scale, the Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale, the Psychopathy Screening Device, and the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children. ^ Results revealed that 30% of the sample met criteria for depression and females reported significantly higher rates of depressive symptomatology than males. As predicted a significant negative correlation was found between depression and self-esteem (r = −.636 p < .001). A positive correlation was found between depression and trauma ( r = .604, p < .001) this was also predicted. Overall the results indicate that a number of adolescents with Conduct Disorder experience significant levels of depression and those who are depressed are also most likely to have been traumatized and to have low self-esteem. Predicted correlations between psychopathy and both self-esteem and depression were not supported by the findings. However, additional analyses revealed that for females, sexual based trauma correlated with psychopathy, while for males it correlated with problems in impulse control. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Developmental|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Iren S Valentine, "The relationship between depression, self-esteem, trauma, and psychopathy in understanding conduct disordered adolescents" (January 1, 2001). ETD Collection for Pace University. Paper AAI9991038.
http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/dissertations/AAI9991038

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