The thesis of this paper is that a reciprocal relation must develop between basic research on the developmental psychopathology of conduct disorder and applied treatment studies. Basic research can guide treatment design, and treatment outcomes can test developmental theories. The nature of conduct disorder seems to be one of multivariate components that act in self-perpetuating ways across development. These components include family, child-cognitive, peer group, and ecocommunity systems. Interventions that are directed toward just one component may be successful in producing proximal changes in the targeted domain, but they are not likely to be successful in long-term prevention of serious conduct disorder because other forces counteract these changes. The goal of treatment research needs to be long-term conduct disorder prevention. Two kinds of treatment studies are needed, one kind that is directed toward developing a technology of successful change procedures for individual processes and a second kind that uses these multiple change procedures in a comprehensive effort to prevent serious conduct disorder.
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