Oppositional-defiant disorder (ODD) in children refers to a disorder that is characterized by a recurring pattern of negativity, defiance, disobedience, and hostility toward authority figures, especially parents and teachers.

ODD is estimated to occur in 2 to 16 percent of children. The Child Study Center, part of the Department of Psychology and the College of Science at Virginia Tech, is offering free assessment and treatment for parents and children who meet the following criteria, as specified by the American Psychiatric Association:

  • Frequent arguing,
  • Significant oppositional behavior,
  • Irritability,
  • Temper outbursts,
  • Persistent stubbornness, and
  • Aggressiveness.

“To date, the predominant approach to the treat of ODD has been parent management training (PMT),” said Thomas Ollendick, University Distinguished professor of Psychology and Director of the Child Study Center.

In recent years, experts in the field proposed an alternative model of the treatment of ODD. The model of intervention is referred to as Collaborative Problem-Solving (CPS).

“CPS emphasizes identification of the specific psychological and biological factors underlying a child’s oppositional behavior and addressing these factors through application of diverse psychosocial behavioral treatment methods,” Ollendick said. “A critical feature of the CPS is the involvement of parents in the training of children’s affective modulation and self-regulation skills so as to better regulate and control their behavior.”

The study will be the first in the nation to compare the two types of treatment for ODD. Children must be between 8 and 12 years old and exhibit all or most of the behavior characteristics listed above. The study is open to individuals in the New River and Roanoke Valleys. Participation in the study may earn your family up to $200.

For more information, or to determine if your family is eligible to participate, contact the Virginia Tech Child Study Center at (540) 231-8276 or visit them online.