Western Undergraduate Psychology Journal

Article Title

The Relationship Between Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder and Psychopathy: A Proposed Trajectory


This review paper critically examines the literature on oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), conduct disorder (CD), antisocial personality disorder (APD) and psychopathy. Through examining diagnostic criteria laid out in the DSM-IV along with statistics related to diagnosis and prognosis, the idea that ODD, CD, and APD may fall on a developmental trajectory as opposed to being distinct, categorical entities is proposed. Additionally, the notion that these three disorders may represent narrow, behavioural indicators of a general psychopathic personality is suggested using comparisons to Hare’s Psychopathy Checklist Revised (PCL-R). Several implications related to child development, family instability and violence, as well as labeling and stigma are discussed and the importance of family intervention and involvement is highlighted. Finally, a number of implications related to the criminal justice system, including the prediction of conviction and recidivism rates, are explored.

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