DSM-IV defines Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) as an ongoing pattern of negativistic, defiant, disobedient, and hostile behavior toward authority figures that goes beyond the reasonable bounds of childhood behavior (DSM-IV, 2000). Several conditions must be observed in order the condition could meet the requirements of DSM-IV, namely: the defiant behavior must interfere with the ability to function in home, school or the community. the defiant behavior should not be caused by other childhood disorder such as attention deficit, anxiety, depression or others. and finally, defiant behavior must be observed for at least six months. In addition to these requirements, the following diagnostic criteria are identified for ODD:
A case when a child meets at least four of eight criteria granted that they are interfering with his ability to function is considered to be the case ODD. However, accurate diagnosis is often associated with serious difficulties caused by high comorbidity of ODD with other anxiety disorders and depressive disorders (Caron amp. Rutter, 1991. Rey, 1993). Thus, Rey (1993) reports approximately one-third of all of the children with any disorder had a diagnosis of opposition defiant disorder, showing that this disorder is one of the most common psychiatric conditions (p.1772-1773). For example, many symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and conduct disorder overlap while comorbidity of ODD with ADHD has been reported to occur in 50-65% of affected children (Tynan, 2003).
The base prevalence of oppositional defiant disorder is estimated within the range of 1.7% -almost 10% depending upon the population being surveyed (e.g. parents, teachers, pediatricians, etc). During the early years of puberty, ODD is more common in boys. in later years of puberty, the incidences of the disorder is practically equal in boys and girls (Rey, 1993).