In this work, researchers developed a tool to assess conduct disorder or antisocial behaviour, specifically among teenagers in Africa, where cultural norms are very different to western countries.
Conduct Disorder (CD) refers to the complex behaviours in children or adolescents whereby they don’t respect other people or they break rules. In Africa, when specialists have to assess conduct disorder or do research in the field, they use tools designed in western countries. These tools are not as reliable because cultures and norms in Africa are different.
There is also not enough information on how prevalent conduct disorder is in Africa, making it difficult for governments to manage the disorder.
In this study, the researchers reviewed existing tools that are used to assess CD. They then developed a screening tool for CD that would be more suitable for African populations.
To do this, they held group discussions with Nigerian children in a correctional institution and in secondary school, all aged between 10 and 19. The same participants were then given questionnaires, which the researchers used to test the reliability of their tool.
Their tool, also known as the Brief Propensity Index for Conduct Disorder (BPI-CD), checks for 17 valid behaviour-related items.
Their tool showed that children with higher tendencies of CD were also more likely to have irregular behaviours. For example, those children were more likely to be aggressive to people and animals, violate rules, steal or destroy properties.
The researchers confirmed that indeed CD behaviour in African teens looks different compared to teens in western countries
However, they cautioned against using their tool for diagnosis, saying instead that it is intended only to screen for possible CD. They also said their tool should not be used on adults in correctional institutions.
The researchers hoped the tool would be further validated across Africa, but said they were confident it works well to screen for CD in teens in the Nigerian context.
Conduct Disorder (CD) can pose serious concerns to parents, home and the society, meanwhile assessing this construct in clinical practice has been based on western concepts which limited the cultural factors implicated in CD. This study presents a reliable and valid screening tools for conduct disorder among juveniles and general population respectively. Existing scales that assessed deviant behavior or CD were reviewed. A qualitative study was conducted using juveniles and college students between the age 10 to 19; this is to determine salient constructs related to CD. Themes were generated, and those related to specific predictors of CD were used to generate a 17-item of Brief Propensity Index for Conduct Disorder (BPI-CD). A cross-sectional survey was then conducted among 125 juveniles and college students to assess the reliability and validity of the scale. The participants were purposively selected. Construct validity using exploratory factor analysis was factored and Varimax rotated the scale into six components (KMO = .685, df=171, p<.001). Convergent validity results showed a significant relationship between BPI-CD and Youth Deviant Behavior Variety Scale (r=.338, p<.01), while discriminant validity results revealed a non-significant relationship between (BPI-CD) and Social Skills Scale (r=.101, p>.05), thus showing a strong validity. The reliability dimensions and subscales have meritorious reliability (Aggression to People/Animals, α =.76, Serious Violation of rule and destruction of property, α =.73; Deceitfulness and theft, α =.68). The overall Cronbach’s Alpha was 0.86. BPI-CD is therefore recommended as reliable and valid screening tool for conduct disorder tendency.