Conduct disorder and callous-unemotional traits in youth

N Engl J Med. 2014 Dec 4;371(23):2207-16. doi: 10.1056/NEJMra1315612.


The term “conduct problems” refers to a pattern of repetitive rule-breaking behavior, aggression, and disregard for others. Such problems have received increased attention recently, owing to violent events perpetrated by youth and modifications in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) criteria for conduct disorder, a syndrome involving recurrent conduct problems in children and adolescents. Youth conduct problems are predictive of an increased risk of substance abuse, criminal behavior, and educational disruption; they also incur a considerable societal burden from interpersonal suffering and financial costs. This review summarizes current data on youth conduct problems and highlights promising avenues for research. Prior reviews have summarized either the clinical literature on outcome, treatment, and familial aggregation or the neurocognitive literature on mechanisms and pathophysiology. The current review differs by more tightly integrating clinical and neurocognitive perspectives.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Amygdala / physiology
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders* / physiopathology
  • Child Behavior Disorders* / psychology
  • Cognition Disorders
  • Conduct Disorder* / etiology
  • Conduct Disorder* / physiopathology
  • Conduct Disorder* / psychology
  • Conduct Disorder* / therapy
  • Decision Making / physiology
  • Empathy*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Psychotherapy
  • Social Environment