PSYC 3140 Chapter Notes -Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Low Birth Weight, Conduct Disorder
22 views16 pages
Chapter 13: Childhood Disorders
More than 1/3 of all children suffer from a significant emotional or behavioural
disorder by the time they are 16.
Nurture: psychological symptoms and disorders are linked to major stressors in
12.5% of children live below the poverty line.
o Most children who face one stressor face several stressors; e.g., victims of
violence, illicit drug use, engage in unprotected sex, and face racial/ethnic
discrimination and harassment.
More stressors = more likely to experience severe psychological symptoms.
Most children who face major stressors don’t develop severe psychological
symptoms or disorders (resilient children).
Having at least one healthy, competent adult to rely on seems to help.
Nature: many children do not have major stressors in their lives to link to their
Many psychological disorders are a result of nature and nurture (biological
predispositions x environmental stressors).
Temperament is a child’s arousability and general mood.
o Difficult temperaments are highly sensitive to stimulation, become upset
easily, and have trouble calming themselves when upset.
o Negative moods, and trouble adapting to new situations (particularly social
o More likely than other children to have both minor and major psychological
o They elicit more negative interactions from others, including their parents.
o Children with difficult temperaments make more problems for themselves
that contribute to their problems, it isn’t the actual difficult temperament
o Those who don’t receive high-quality parenting in response are at a higher
Childhood disorders = developmental psychopathology.
o When children’s behaviours cross the line into unusual or abnormal.
All children go through periods in which they are unusually fearful or easily
distressed, or engage in behaviours like lying or stealing, but these periods pass
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
o A major focus of socialization is helping children learn to pay attention,
control their impulses, and organize their behaviours, so they accomplish
o Children who have trouble learning these skills are sometimes diagnosed
o Three subtypes:
Most have the combined type; where the child has a mix of the
symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity (6 or more).
The predominantly inattentive type is when the child has more
symptoms of inattention (6 or more), and less of the hyperactivity-
Symptoms indicating a sluggish cognitive tempo are also
The predominantly hyperactivity-impulsivity type is mostly
hyperactivity-impulsive (6 or more), and less of the inattention.
o Many children do poorly in school, because they cannot pay attention or
quell their hyperactivity.
o 20-25% of children of ADHD have serious learning disabilities.
o Some children have poor relationships with others, and are outright rejected
by their peer group.
They’re intrusive, irritable, and demanding.
Want to play, but by their own rules. Explosive tempers if not going
o Sometimes their behaviour is so severe they’re diagnosed with conduct
o Between 45-60% of those with ADHD develop conduct disorder, abuse drugs,
or become juvenile delinquents.
o Conduct problems in childhood sometimes continue into adulthood.
o Has become a popular diagnosis to give when children are out of control at
home or school.
o Only 1-7% actually develops ADHD.
o Boys have a higher incidence of ADHD, across all age groups, but rates differ.
Prevalence rates are significantly higher for 6-8 year olds than 12-14
o Boys with ADHD tend to have more disruptive behaviour than girls
(underdiagnosed in girls, then?).
o ADHD is found across cultures and ethnic groups.
o ¾ of childhood ADHD symptoms persist into adulthood.
o Adults diagnosed with ADHD as children are at a higher risk for depression,
anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and ASPD.
o Many children grow out of their ADHD.
o Biological contributors
Formerly referred to as minimal brain damage, because it was thought
to be the result of brain damage.
Most children with ADHD have no history of brain damage, and those
with brain damage don’t develop ADHD.
Differ on psychological measures of neurological functioning and
cerebral blood flow.
Frontal lobes; caudate nucleus in the basal ganglia; the corpus
callosum, which attaches the two hemispheres.
Play a role in attention, the regulation of impulses, and
planning of complex behaviour.
Immaturity Hypothesis: children with ADHD are neurologically
immature; brains are slower at developing.
Why they’re unable to maintain attention and control their
behaviour at a level expected of their age.
Also explains why symptoms decline with age.
Dopamine: lower D2/D3 receptors, and dopamine transporters (DAT)
in the midbrain.
D2/D3 = inattention.
Many tasks, therefore, are not intrinsically rewarding.
DAT is the target for many simulant medications in ADHD.
Although serotonin plays a role in impulsive and aggressive
behaviour, it does not appear to play a role in ADHD.
ADHD runs in families; 10-35% of the immediate family also has the
Comorbid with ASPD, alcoholism, and depression in families.
Not clear exactly what aspects of ADHD are inherited.
Many children have a history of prenatal and birth complications.
Maternal ingestions of large amounts of nicotine or
barbiturates during pregnancy, low birth weight, premature
delivery, and oxygen deprivation.
In preschool, many were exposed to lead-based products.
Two specific risk factors:
Exposure to maternal smoking during pregnancy.
Low birth weight or prematurity.
DAT1 and ADHD was stronger when mother drank during
DAT1 and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms was stronger
when mother smoked during pregnancy.
Studies do not support the hypothesis that hyperactivity is due to a
o Psychological and Social Contributors to ADHD
Children with ADHD are more likely to belong to families where there
are frequent disruptions (e.g., changes in residence or divorce).
Fathers are more prone to ASPD and criminal activity.
Interactions with mother are hostile.
Parental satisfaction and perceived competence is lower in mothers
with children who have ADHD.
Mothers’ parenting behaviours are linked with specific traits of ADHD.
o Treatments for ADHD
Most common is the use of stimulant drugs (e.g., Ritalin, Dexedrine,
70-85% of ADHD children respond to these drugs with
decreases in demanding, disruptive, and non-compliant
More than 1/3 of all children suffer from a significant emotional or behavioural disorder by the time they are 16. Nurture: psychological symptoms and disorders are linked to major stressors in their environment. 12. 5% of children live below the poverty line: most children who face one stressor face several stressors; e. g. , victims of violence, illicit drug use, engage in unprotected sex, and face racial/ethnic discrimination and harassment. More stressors = more likely to experience severe psychological symptoms. Most children who face major stressors don"t develop severe psychological symptoms or disorders (resilient children). Having at least one healthy, competent adult to rely on seems to help. Nature: many children do not have major stressors in their lives to link to their disorders. Many psychological disorders are a result of nature and nurture (biological predispositions x environmental stressors). Childhood disorders = developmental psychopathology: when children"s behaviours cross the line into unusual or abnormal.