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March 2001

Childhood Depression and Conduct Disorder: Different Routes to the Same Outcome?

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2001;58(3):237-238. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.58.3.237

ONE OF the key diagnostic features for many concepts of personality disorder is that its onset should have occurred in childhood or, at the very least, no later than adolescence. Indeed, there is a good deal of evidence that certain childhood problems are associated with the development of personality difficulties later in life. The most striking findings have come from studies of children with conduct disorders. The now classic study by Robins1 on the natural history of conduct disorder showed that nearly half the children with this diagnosis go on to develop antisocial personality disorder in adult life. Other forms of childhood difficulty are also associated with later personality problems. For example, in a series of studies, Quinton and Rutter et al2,3 showed that chronic familial adversities such as severe marital discord were strongly associated with poor social functioning in adult life.