Doing Better with “Bad Kids”: Explaining the Policy-Research Gap with Conduct Disorder in Canada

February 11, 2001

Charlotte Waddell, Jonathan Lomas, David Offord, and Mita Giacomini. (2001). Doing better with “bad kids”: Explaining the policy-research gap with conduct disorder in Canada. Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, Vol. 20, No. 2, 2001


Conduct disorder (severe and persistent antisocial behaviour in children and youth) is an important community mental health problem in Canada and has been the focus of considerable recent public policy debate. Good research evidence is available on effective (and ineffective) interventions for conduct disorder. Paradoxically, however, relatively little of the research evidence is incorporated into policy decision-making. There is a policy-research gap. An example (Hamilton, Ontario) is used to illustrate this gap. The gap is then explained using a framework for health policy analysis that incorporates values, institutional structures, and information. Values and institutional structures greatly outweigh research evidence in influencing current Canadian policy-making for the problem of conduct disorder. Possibilities for improving the situation are suggested.

Full text of this article is held by the Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, which is available to journal subscribers only.