Juveniles with CD were significantly different from those
without CD on three of eight family risk factors in the current study. These
include history of family pathology. Factors such as parents being in prison,
severe alcoholism, and maternal depression were aspects of family pathology
indicated in the juveniles’ psychological reports. These findings corroborate
previous research (Patterson, cited in Mash & Wolfe, 2007; Nelson et al.,
2007), that CD is related to ineffective parenting that stems from parents’
criminal activities, substance abuse and depression, or from learning
behaviours from parents. In addition, Barbados has a close-knit family culture.
The idea that it takes a village to raise a child is very present in Barbados.
Adult family members (parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, older cousins) are
very involved in rearing and disciplining children. This may influence how
juveniles perceive and react to pathology within their families.
Parental conflict was also significantly different for
juveniles with a CD diagnosis. Previous research did find that families of
children with conduct problems are often characterized by an unstable family
structure with frequent transitions (Mash & Wolfe, 2007; Forgatch, 1989).
Juveniles in this current population may engage in conduct problems as a means
of expressing and/or escaping their frustration with their home situation.
Low income was the third family risk factor differentiating
those with and without a CD diagnosis in the current study; a finding also
supported by previous research (Pagani, Boulerice, Vitaro, & Tremblay,
1999). Disadvantaged youth are often forced to find work and the options
usually involve the drug trade and prostitution (Cunningham & Correia,
2003; Harriott, 2002). Some juveniles in the current sample were committed for
No statistically significant difference in CD diagnosis was
found between males and females in the current study. This is somewhat contrary
to what has been overwhelmingly reported in the literature about CD and gender.
Perhaps these results can be attributed to the small number of female juveniles
with CD (n = 4) within the sample population (n = 71), which significantly
affected statistical analyses.
There was a significant difference in the number of multiple
family risk factors among those with CD compared to those without CD. These
results are not unlike previous literature. For example, the more risk factors
one is exposed to, the greater the likelihood that he or she will become
violent (Office of the Surgeon General, 2001).