abstract Michelle Martel

Michelle Martel (University of Kentucky, USA)

Early Developmental Pathways to Disruptive Behavior Disorders: Etiology and Mechanisms.

Common childhood Disruptive Behavior Disorders (DBD) include Oppositional-Defiant Disorder (ODD) and arguably Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), especially the hyperactive-impulsive symptom domain. These disorders are highly comorbid and associated with both shared and unique risk markers and etiological factors. Extant work suggests some preliminary directions for examination of early developmental pathways to these DBDs, the topic of the current talk. Cross-sectional data from samples of preschool and school-age children will be presented as a way to provide initial examination of integrative, complex pathways to common childhood DBD. Data shown are consistent with the idea that the short allele of 5HTT-LPR interacts with family environmental factors like marital conflict toinfluence neuroticism which in turn may lead to childhood ODD symptoms. In contrast, dopaminergic genetic risk, high prenatal testosterone exposure, and low birth weight all appear to increase risk for inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive ADHD symptoms, acting though low conscientiousness and impaired cognitive control. Overall, these results suggest that earlydevelopmental pathways to DBD are complex and, at each level of analysis, several different risk factors appear to be important in the development of specific DBDs and their comorbidity. Further, individual differences, like sex differences and variability in genetic alleles, appear important to consider as they may interact with environmental stressors and/or influence pathways between mechanisms and DBD symptoms. A better understanding of complex pathways to childhood DBD suggests the need for diverse and individualized assessment within multiple cognitive and trait domainsin order to identify kids at early risk for ODD and ADHD and may aid in the development of targeted intervention programs for these at-risk children.