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Oppositionality can be minimized and oppositional defiant disorder can be prevented. The optimal approach would identify and lessen risk factors—such as coercive parenting, marital conflict, and parental depression—prior to the development of disruptive behaviors and clinical disorder. At present, however, most interventions target families where children already exhibit problem behaviors and aim to prevent further deterioration. In this type of intervention children are selected because of the severity of their disturbance at day care center or preschool, or by measures of family adversity or dysfunction.

Preventative programs basically involve modifications of parent management training programs and are delivered to groups of children at risk for these problems (e.g., children with difficult temperament or those who display marked oppositionality by the age of four or five years). There are other types of preventive interventions that also seem promising, for example classroom programs such as the "Good Behavior Game" (Kellam et al. 1994).


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Rey, J. M., and Walter, G. (1999). "Oppositional Defiant Disorder." In Disruptive Behavior Disorders in Children and Adolescents: Review of Psychiatry, Vol. 18, ed. R. L. Hendren. Washington DC: American Psychiatric Press.

Sanders, M. R., and Markie-Dadds, C. (1996). "Triple P: A Multilevel Family Intervention Program for Children with Disruptive Behaviour Disorders." In Early Intervention and Prevention in Mental Health, ed. P. Cotton and P. H. Jackson. Melbourne: Australian Psychological Society.

Sanson, A., and Prior, M. (1999). "Temperamental and Behavioral Precursors to Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder." In Handbook of Disruptive Behavior Disorders, ed. H. C. Quay and A. E Hogan. New York: Plenum Press.

Scott, S.; Spender, Q.; Doolan, M.; Jacobs, B.; and Aspland, H. (2001). "Multicentre Controlled Trial of Parenting Groups for Childhood Antisocial Behavior in Clinical Practice." British Medical Journal 323:1–7.

Shen, Y., and Wang, Y. (1995). "Behaviour Problems of Schoolchildren in Beijing: A Study of Prevalence and Risk Factors." In Chinese Societies and Mental Health, ed. T. Lin, W. Tseng, and E. Yeh. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press.



Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaOther Marriage & Family TopicsOppositionality - Oppositionality And Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Causal Factors, Epidemiology, Treatment, Family's Response To Oppositionality