Oppositional defiant disorder and the impact of parental relationship status : a structural equation modelling approach
thesisposted on 2023-05-27, 09:49 authored by O'Rourke, SL
ODD is characterised by an ongoing pattern of defiant behaviour toward authority figures that exceeds the bounds of normal childhood behaviour. An investigation of the impact of parental relationship status on children with ODD was conducted. The study examined the applicability of a path model in which the direct paths from parental relationship status to internalising and externalising child symptoms were postulated and indirect paths via both family adjustment and maternal psychopathology also were proposed. Additionally, it was hypothesised that family adjustment and maternal psychopathology would have direct effects on internalising and externalising child symptoms. Participants were clinic-referred children, diagnosed with ODD between 5 and 11 years of age, from intact (N = 288) and nonintact families (N = 279). Self-rating measures on family adjustment, maternal psychology and child behaviour were completed. Structural equation modelling analyses indicate support for model applicability, with the exception of direct effects of family adjustment on internalising and externalising child symptoms. Additionally, the direct path from parental relationship status to internalising symptoms was only a trend towards significance. The findings suggest that for children with ODD, divorce, separation and maternal psychopathology elevate the risk of increased symptom severity. It was concluded that therapy may need to focus on family adjustment to reduce the risk of internalising and externalising child symptoms. Additionally, positive parenting strategies may enhance outcomes for those children with severe or comorbid symptomology.
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