Stability and change in externalising behaviours

  • David M. Fergusson


This paper provides an overview of a series of issues relating to continuity and discontinuity in externalising disorders including conduct disorder, attention deficit disorder and substance use disorders in childhood and adolescence. These issues include: (a) the assessment of stability and change; (b) the origins of behavioural stability; (c) the origins of behavioural change; and (d) the preventive and clinical implications of research into behavioural stability and change. It is concluded that future research into this area should involve: (a) further research into the genetic factors underlying externalising disorders; (b) continued research into the developmental progressions; (c) refinement and revision of measurement methodologies; and (d) greater use of designed experimentation to examine the extent to which externalising behaviours are amenable to change through both public health and clinical interventions.

Key words Externalising disorders Stability Change 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • David M. Fergusson
    • 1
  1. 1.Christchurch Health and Development Study, Department of Psychological Medicine, Christchurch School of Medicine, P.O. Box 4345, Christchurch, New ZealandNZ

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