- The heterogeneity of disruptive behaviour disorders – implications for neurobiological research and treatment (2010)
- Disruptive behaviour disorders are reflected by a great variety of symptoms ranging from impulsive-hot tempered quarrels to purposeful and goal directed acts of cruelty. A growing body of data indicates that there are neurobiological factors that increase the risk for developing disruptive behaviour disorders. In this review, we give a broad overview of recent studies investigating physiological, neural, genetic factors, and specific neurotransmitter systems. We also discuss the impact of psychosocial risk and consider the effects of gene-environment interactions. Due to the heterogeneity of disruptive behaviour disorders, it is concluded that specific subtypes of disruptive behaviour should be considered both in terms their biological basis and in regard to specific treatment needs.
- Neuroimaging of aggressive and violent behaviour in children and adolescents (2009)
- In recent years, a number of functional and structural neuroimaging studies have investigated the neural bases of aggressive and violent behaviour in children and adolescents. Most functional neuroimaging studies have persued the hypothesis that pathological aggression is a consequence of deficits in the neural circuits involved in emotion processing. There is converging evidence for abnormal neural responses to emotional stimuli in youths with a propensity towards aggressive behaviour. In addition, recent neuroimaging work has suggested that aggressive behaviour is also associated with abnormalities in neural processes that subserve both the inhibitory control of behaviour and the flexible adaptation of behaviour in accord with reinforcement information. Structural neuroimaging studies in children and adolescents with conduct problems are still scarce, but point to deficits in brain structures involved in the processing of social information and in the regulation of social and goal-directed behaviour. The indisputable progress that this research field has made in recent years notwithstanding, the overall picture is still rather patchy and there are inconsistencies between studies that await clarification. Despite this, we attempt to provide an integrated view on the neural abnormalities that may contribute to various forms of juvenile aggression and violence, and discuss research strategies that may help to provide a more profound understanding of these important issues in the future. Keywords: aggression, violence, conduct disorder, fMRI, brain imaging, psychiatry
- Cognitive behavioral therapy of socially phobic children focusing on cognition: a randomised wait-list control study (2011)
- Background: Although literature provides support for cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as an efficacious intervention for social phobia, more research is needed to improve treatments for children. Methods: Forty four Caucasian children (ages 8-14) meeting diagnostic criteria of social phobia according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.; APA, 1994) were randomly allocated to either a newly developed CBT program focusing on cognition according to the model of Clark and Wells (n = 21) or a wait-list control group (n = 23). The primary outcome measure was clinical improvement. Secondary outcomes included improvements in anxiety coping, dysfunctional cognitions, interaction frequency and comorbid symptoms. Outcome measures included child report and clinican completed measures as well as a diagnostic interview. Results: Significant differences between treatment participants (4 dropouts) and controls (2 dropouts) were observed at post test on the German version of the Social Phobia and Anxiety Inventory for Children. Furthermore, in the treatment group, significantly more children were free of diagnosis than in wait-list group at post-test. Additional child completed and clinician completed measures support the results. Discussion: The study is a first step towards investigating whether CBT focusing on cognition is efficacious in treating children with social phobia. Future research will need to compare this treatment to an active treatment group. There remain the questions of whether the effect of the treatment is specific to the disorder and whether the underlying theoretical model is adequate. Conclusion: Preliminary support is provided for the efficacy of the cognitive behavioral treatment focusing on cognition in socially phobic children. Active comparators should be established with other evidence-based CBT programs for anxiety disorders, which differ significantly in their dosage and type of cognitive interventions from those of the manual under evaluation (e.g. Coping Cat).
- Peer-victimization and mental health problems in adolescents: are parental and school support protective? (2010)
- The aim of this study was to investigate the frequency and effects of peer-victimization on mental health problems among adolescents. Parental and school support were assumed as protective factors that might interact with one another in acting as buffers for adolescents against the risk of peer-victimization. Besides these protective factors, age and gender were additionally considered as moderating factors. The Social and Health Assessment survey was conducted among 986 students aged 11-18 years in order to assess peer-victimization, risk and protective factors and mental health problems. For mental health problems, the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) was used. Effects of peer-victimization on mental health problems were additionally compared with normative SDQ data in order to obtain information about clinically relevant psychopathology in our study sample. Results of this study show that peer-victimization carries a serious risk for mental health problems in adolescents. School support is effective in both male and female adolescents by acting as a buffer against the effect of victimization, and school support gains increasing importance in more senior students. Parental support seems to be protective against maladjustment, especially in peer-victimized girls entering secondary school. Since the effect of peer-victimization can be reduced by parental and school support, educational interventions are of great importance in cases of peer-victimization.