Conduct disordered youth in group care: An examination of negative peer influence

Jonathan C. Huefner, Michael L. Handwerk, Jay L. Ringle, Clinton E. Field

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


We examined the potential impact of negative peer influence within a treatment-focused residential care setting. Subjects were 712 youth consecutively admitted to a large residential treatment program (9-19 years of age). Based on Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children (DISC) scores, 247 (35%) of these youth qualified for a Conduct Disorder diagnosis at admission. The dependent measures were the number of DISC Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)/Conduct Disorder (CD) symptoms and the sum of Conduct Problem behaviors observed daily for each youth. Both the Conduct Problem Behaviors and the ODD/CD symptoms for both CD and non-CD groups decreased over time. Youth with a CD diagnosis or who were female improved at a faster rate than their peers. The data analyzed in this study do not support a negative peer influence effect for antisocial youth placed in a treatment-focused residential care setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)719-730
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Conduct disorder
  • Iatrogenic
  • Negative peer influence
  • Residential care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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