The Clinical Problem :
The incidence of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Conduct Disorder (CD) in children is alarmingly high, with reported cases of early-onset conduct problems in young preschool children 4-6% (Egger & Angold, 2006) and as high as 35% for low-income families (Webster-Stratton & Hammond, 1998). Developmental theorists have suggested that, compared to typical children, 'early starter' delinquents, that is, those who first exhibit ODD symptoms in the preschool years, have a two- to threefold risk of becoming tomorrow's serious violent and chronic juvenile offenders (Loeber et al., 1993; Patterson, Capaldi, & Bank, 1991; Snyder, 2001; Tremblay et al., 2000). These children with early-onset CD also account for a disproportionate share of delinquent acts in adulthood, including interpersonal violence, substance abuse, and property crimes. Indeed, the primary developmental pathway for serious conduct disorders in adolescence and adulthood appears to be established during the preschool period.
To address the parenting, family, child, and school risk factors, we have developed three complementary training curricula, known as the Incredible Years Training Series, targeted at parents, teachers, and children (ages 2-8 years). This chapter reviews these training programs and their associated research.
Although our programs were first designed and evaluated to be used as clinic-based treatments for diagnosed children, our recent work has tended our clinic-based treatment model to school settings and has targeted high-risk populations. As more is known about the type, timing, and dosage of interventions needed to prevent and treat children?s conduct problems, we can further target children and families to offer treatment and support at strategic points. By providing a continuum of prevention and treatment services, we believe we will be able to prevent the further development of conduct disorders, delinquency, and violence.