Prevention of Childhood Behavior Disorders

  • Donna M. Gelfand
  • Teresa Ficula
  • Lynne Zarbatany


As its title suggests, this chapter deals with conceptual and empirical approaches to the prevention of children’s behavior disorders. The chapter’s focus is on the broad issues concerning prevention rather than on a detailed consideration of specific categories of psychopathology as is featured in many of the other chapters in this volume. The book’s other authors describe many of the childhood antecedents of specific disorders and evaluate related prevention programs. To supplement their coverage and to place it in a broader perspective, we examine developmental factors governing the predictability of behavior disorder occurrence, because such considerations necessarily affect the viability of prevention efforts. If prediction proves possible, and future problems can be anticipated with some accuracy, then prevention becomes a feasible goal. This chapter considers what is known about children considered to be at high risk of developing behavior disorders, and scrutinizes the criteria used for evaluating prevention programs. In addition, we attempt to identify several high risk groups who lack prevention programs (i.e., children at risk for attention deficit disorder, depression, and school refusal). Although comprehensive preventive interventions are notably lacking for these preceding groups, current research indicates that several more focused early intervention strategies hold promise. Finally, new research-based directions for prevention work with children are discussed.


Behavior Disorder Child Psychology Conduct Disorder Attention Deficit Disorder Parental Psychopathology 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donna M. Gelfand
    • 1
  • Teresa Ficula
    • 1
  • Lynne Zarbatany
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada

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