The Challenges for Primary Caregivers of Adolescents With Disruptive Behavior Disorders

Ukamaka M. Oruche, Claire Burke Draucker, Halima Al-Khattab, Hillary A. Cravens, Brittany Lowry, Laura M. Lindsey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Adolescents with disruptive behavior disorders (DBD), including oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder, present unique challenges for their families. Although, most empirically supported treatments for DBD are family-based, the emphasis is typically on the behavior of the child rather than on the life challenges and resultant distress experienced by the family members. Fifteen families of adolescents with DBD were recruited from a large publicly funded Community Mental Health Center. For this report, data from in-depth interviews with the adolescents’ primary caregivers were analyzed by standard content analytic procedures to describe the challenges they experienced living with and caring for the adolescents. The primary caregivers reported that the challenges were overwhelming, demanding, and unrelenting. The two most salient challenges were (a) managing the adolescents’ aggressive, defiant, and deceitful behaviors, and (b) interacting frequently with a number of child-serving agencies. A number of clinical implications are drawn from these findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-167
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Family Nursing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 27 2015


  • adolescents
  • challenges
  • disruptive behavior disorders
  • primary caregivers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Community and Home Care
  • Family Practice

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