Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Michelle M. Martel


Conduct problems (CP) are a class of disruptive and aggressive behaviors (e.g., aggression, vandalism) comprised of both oppositional defiant and conduct disorder. CP are highly heterogenous and one vital factor that parses out this heterogeneity is affect, specifically the affective traits of irritability (IRR) and limited prosocial emotions (LPE). The current study examined how IRR and LPE predict distinct aspects of treatment efficacy including (1) treatment response (i.e., magnitude of change from week 1 to week 5); (2) trajectories (i.e., shape of symptom change); and (3) time-out (i.e., behavioral and emotional reactions to time-out). Participants were 49 youth aged 7-12 years (71.4% male, 77.6% meeting CP criteria) who participated in an intensive behavioral summer treatment program. Outcomes were observational ratings of CP and parent-ratings of impairment. Pre-treatment IRR predicted reduced CP at week 5. Neither IRR nor LPE exerted any significant effect upon impairment treatment response, nor trajectories of change, nor behavioral or emotional reactions to time-out. IRR may be particularly important to consider in treating CP in youth. Future research should employ measurement of the distinct underlying treatment mechanisms (e.g., emotion dysregulation, empathy) to effectively target the mechanisms contributing to aggression and impairment in youth with different affective profiles.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)