Characteristics of treatment completers and non-completers in a residential programme for severe conduct disorder : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology, Massey University
The study centres on a long-term residential programme for the treatment of severe conduct disorder. A number of young people leave the programme before completion of treatment. The focus of the study is to examine existing data from psychometric tests to determine whether the data can provide material which delineates a completer profile and a non-completer profile. The data was originally collected as part of the assessment and diagnostic process for entry to the programme. All of the young people met criteria for a diagnosis of severe conduct disorder with early onset. Secondary data analysis was used, to delineate a profile of each group. Differences between the two groups were found in the areas of resilience factors, internalising and externalising characteristics, and comorbidity with a range of disorders. Comorbidity with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder was particularly prevalent. As the data samples were small the current study is exploratory and descriptive, rather than predictive or inferential. Gender and ethnicity affect both the manifestation of conduct disorder and response to treatment. However, the small sample size did not allow separate analysis along gender or ethnic lines. Both of these areas warrant further research. Conduct disorder is a complex disorder, which affects every domain of the young person's life including family, individual development, educational achievement, peer relations, social relations, criminal history, and physical and mental health. Ecological models have explanatory utility in terms of aetiology, symptomatology, and treatment rationale covering all domains and are used as a framework for this study. This study reviews relevant literature, gives a brief outline of the specific programme, describes the method and results of the secondary analysis of the test data, and concludes with a discussion about the implications of the findings, and some suggestions for the design of further programmes and for future research in this area.