In this article, research on the various risk factors of conduct disorder is reviewed, with a specific focus on recent theories of how these risk factors can negatively influence a child’s development and place him or her at risk for acting in ways that violate the rights of others or that violate major societal norms. Support for several specific developmental pathways, each involving somewhat different risk factors and causal mechanisms, is provided. This research has important implications for how research is conducted and interpreted. It also has important implications for the assessment and diagnosis of conduct disorder. Most importantly, it highlights the need for a comprehensive and individualized approach to treatment that recognizes the different needs of youth across the various pathways.
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