, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 337-353

Empirical evidence for overt and covert patterns of antisocial conduct problems: A metaanalysis

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Twenty-eight factor- and cluster-analytic studies of child psychopathology were examined for patterns in antisocial behavior. A multidimensional scaling analysis yielded one dimension that was labeled overt-covert antisocial behavior. One end of this dimension consisted of overt or confrontive antisocial behaviors such as arguing, temper tantrums, and fighting. The other end consisted of covert or concealed antisocial behaviors such as stealing, truancy, and fire setting. Implications derived from the present findings are discussed as they apply to the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of antisocial behaviors in children.

The authors are indebted to Drs. C. Edelbrock, B. Fagot, L. Goldberg, and H. C. Quay for their advice during the writing of this paper. Special thanks are extended to Drs. L. Furby, J. B. Reid, G. R. Patterson, and M. Stouthamer-Loeber, who read and criticized earlier drafts of this paper. The authors also acknowledge the helpful comments and inspiration they received from staff at the Oregon Social Learning Center. The paper was written with the financial assistance of Grant No. MH 32857 from the Center of Studies in Crime and Delinquency, National Institute of Mental Health.