Document Type

Research Paper

Publication Date



African American youth are exposed to considerably more risk factors than their Caucasian counterparts, yet they are being diagnosed at comparably lower rates for Conduct Disorder (CD) in epidemiological studies. Empirical data supports the claim that African Americans are at greater risk of developing CD. However, the internal dysfunction benchmark of the Diagnostic Statistic Manual (DSM) discourages clinicians from diagnosing youth who display environmentally caused CD. The racial disparity in the diagnosis of CD is problematic for two reasons. First, African American youth who display antisocial personality are more likely to be referred to the justice system than to therapeutic intervention. Second, both untreated CD and incarceration elevate antisocial behavior and extend it into adulthood. Factors exist at the societal, cultural and clinical levels that cause this disparity.