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Chapter 12

PSYC18H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 12: Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Separation Anxiety Disorder, Externalizing Disorders

Course Code
Gerald Cupchik

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Chapter 12 – Emotions and Mental Health in
Emotions and disorders
The case of Peter
Has conduct disorder
Aged 11, lived in an apartment with one older sister, one younger sister, and his
Was described as defiant, rude, verbally aggressive, and truanting
Describes feelings of sadness and loneliness; he is frightened
Classifying childhood disorders
Diagnoses are descriptions of patterns of behaviour
The importance of diagnosis is that someone who fulfills defined criteria for a defined
period is usually impaired in their functioning
Psychopathology: the study of abnormal functioning
There are no sharp distinctions between having and not having a disorder there is a
The method of assessment typically involves checklists of symptoms or behaviour
patterns, and sometimes questionnaires, which a parent of teacher completes for a
particular child
In middle childhood two kinds of emotional disorders become important:
oExternalizing disorders: anger, hostility, aggression, stealing, and lying
oInternalizing disorders: anxiety and depression with tendencies to
How are emotions involved in children’s disorders?
Two principal emotion-based externalizing disorders of childhood are called:
ooppositional defiant disorder over a 6 month period the child frequently
displays 4 or more of the following:
loses temper
argues with adults
defies or refuses requests or rules
deliberately does things that will annoy other people
blames others for his or her own mistakes
is touchy or easily annoyed by others
is angry and resentful
is spiteful or vindictive
oconduct disorder involve truanting before 13, stealing, fire setting,
sexual assault, physical fights, physical cruelty to people or animals, and
use of weapons
Two principle emotion based internalizing disorders:
oAnxiety fears that are abnormal in intensity, duration and how they are

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Overanxious disorder excessive or unrealistic anxiety or worry,
with marked tension, for at least six months across a range of areas
Separation anxiety disorder excessive anxiety for at least two
weeks about separation from the child’s main attachment figures:
worry about harm befalling them
oDepression either very low in mood or has no interest in anything for at
least two weeks, and must be different from how the child has previously
Must also have 4 other symptoms such as weight changes, sleep
disturbances, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, inability to
concentrate, and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
What is disordered?
Hypotheses about the relationship between emotion and disorder:
1) Predominance of one emotion system a disorder would be a balance among
emotions which, instead of being responsive to what happened in the world, is
biased towards pre-established patterns of certain kinds
a. Depressed children are more likely to make attributions for negative events
that are stable, internal and global
b. Boys are more likely than girls to think aggression enhances self-esteem
2) Inappropriate emotional responses children with a disorder react to events with
deviant emotional responses: laughing when someone else is distressed, crying
when nothing has happened, being angry when someone makes a friendly gesture
3) Dysregulation in a disorder, emotions are not properly regulated; they are
inappropriate to the social context; lack of effortful control (impulsive)
Prevalence of disorders in childhood
Psychiatric epidemiology the study of how many people show a particular disorder
in the population
oPrevalence: the proportion of the population suffering from some disorder
over a particular time
oIncidence: the number of new onsets of a particular disorder in a given
First major study in children’s psychiatric epidemiology: the Isle of Wight study
o10 year old children were given questionnaires and interviewed
Children were more closely in touch with fears and anxieties than parents, and report
more of them
Parents are more in touch with externalizing behaviours than children, and report more
of them
Externalizing disorders
Younger children show more externalizing behaviours than internalizing behaviours
Oppositional defiant disorder is most common in early childhood, but conduct
disorder is more common later on
Property violations decreased with age but status violation (swearing, truancy)
increased with age
Boys show more externalizing behaviours than girls
Angry outbursts in children decline sharply in the second year
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