Le Corff Y, Toupin J. (2014). Overt versus covert conduct disorder symptoms and the prospective prediction of antisocial personality disorder. Journal of Personality Disorders. 28: 864-872.
Studies have shown strong continuity between conduct disorder (CD) in adolescence and antisocial personality disorder (APD) in adulthood. Researchers have been trying to explain why some adolescents with CD persist into adult APD and others do not. A few studies reported that overt and covert CD symptoms have a differential predictive power for APD, with mixed results. The present study aimed to evaluate the prospective association of overt and covert CD symptoms with APD in a sample of male adolescents with CD (N = 128, mean age = 15.6, SD = 1.6). Participants were recruited at intake in Quebec Youth Centers and reassessed 3 years later (n = 73). CD and ADHD symptoms were assessed at intake with the DISC-R while APD was assessed 3 years later with the SCID-II. Logistic regression results showed that, contrary to previous prospective studies (Lahey, Loeber, Burke, & Applegate, 2005; Washburn et al., 2007), overt (OR = 2.12, 95% CI [1.29, 3.50]) but not covert (OR = 1.04, 95% CI [0.69, 1.56]) symptoms predicted later APD, controlling for ADHD symptoms and socioeconomic status. It is hypothesized that the divergence with previous studies may be explained by the higher mean number and wider range of overt CD symptoms in our sample.