What research methods were used in this study?

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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 such offenses.

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).

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