Happy Learners - Oppositional Defiant Disorder

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Opposition Defiant Disorder (ODD)

ODD is relatively common condition with some studies suggesting a prevalence rate of 5% in pre-school children rising to about 13% in pre-adolescents. ODD is more common in boys.

Behaviours Associated With ODD:


Most children will exhibit these behaviours at some point in their childhood. In particular during toddlerhood when many children experience the 'Terrible Two's' and during the teenage years when it is 'normal' for adolescents to exhibit a range of challenging and discordant behaviours similar to those of ODD children. ODD is therefore diagnosed because of the frequency, perseverence and severity of these behaviours. Diagnosis requires at least four of the eight behaviours identified above to be present for at least six months. Some behaviours may wax and wane depending on other factors affecting the child and their family but will tend to be consistent over time. You may be interesed in the informal assessment tool Oppositional Defiant Disorder Behaviour Frequency Matrix available in the Assessment resources page.

Risk Factors For ODD

ODD is rarely diagnosed in isolation. It is often diagnosed in children with ADHD and less frequently in children with autistic spectrum disorder or other anxiety conditions. Evidence suggests that these conditions have a large degree of inheritability and likewise ODD has a high level genetic inheritability. However, a range of environmental factors also influence the likelihood of developing ODD. These include:

Co-Morbid Risks Associated With ODD

You may also be interested in the following pages:



ODD Management


Barry, T. D. and Lochman, J. E. (2010) Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.
Cavanagh, M. et al (2014) Oppositional Defiant Disorder Is Better Conceptualized as a Disorder of Emotional Regulation Journal of Attention Disorders 1–9 SAGE Publications
Frick, P. & Nigg, J. (2012) Current Issues in the Diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and Conduct Disorder Annu Rev Clin Psychol. 2012 ; 8: 77–107. doi:10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-032511-143150.
Quy, K. and Stringaris, A. (2012) Oppositional Defiant Disorder. IACAPAP Textbook of Child and Adolescent Mental Health