The purpose of this article was to survey state departments of education regarding their definitions of behavior disorders. Forty-nine state definitions were analyzed based on their alignment to 11 criteria components. The data indicated a wide discrepancy between the states as to what constitutes a behavior disorder. The results are discussed in terms of the shortcomings of many of the definitions and in terms of the changes which have occurred in state definitions over the years. Specific recommendations regarding the need to operationalize the definitions are presented.
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