University Of Otago Logo Childhood behavioral conditions such as Conduct Disorder (CD) and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) seem to be influenced by a number of factors such as interparental violence or physical abuse. Both CD and ODD are believed to have adverse effects on mental health and psychosocial adjustment in adolescence as well as early adulthood. Well, experts from the University of Otago, Christchurch suggest that childhood behavioral disorders can also erupt due to maternal smoking during pregnancy and exposure to family violence.

As a part of the study, data from the long-running Christchurch Health and Development Study was thoroughly scrutinized. Scientists then inspected the influence of a number of common childhood social and environmental factors that can be attributed to the development of CD and ODD. As the disorders frequently co-occur, individuals with symptoms of one disorder allegedly have higher chances of developing symptoms of the other.

While investigating, lead researcher Dr Joe Boden and colleagues observed that both the disorders had several factors in common. Some of these factors probably were low family socioeconomic status, family instability, childhood exposure to physical abuse, sexual abuse or interparental violence maternal smoking during pregnancy, child IQ and affiliation with deviant (delinquent and substance using) peers. The study findings can presumably aid in coming up with treatment and prevention approaches which target these factors.

The study is published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.