A study on Theory of Mind among adolescents with Oppositional Defiant Disorder

  • Pratishtha Pal
  • Pooja Mahour
  • Amit Arya
  • Vivek Agrawal


Background: Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a persisting and lasting pattern of negative, hostile, and deviant behaviour linking with a wide range of psychosocial problems. The deficits in social cognition are also one of the major contributors for symptoms in ODD. Theory of Mind is one of the concepts of social cognition.

Aim: The first aim was to examine the concepts of theory of mind in both ODD and healthy adolescents. The second aim was to explore the relationship between severity of ODD and theory of mind.

Method: 25 adolescents with a diagnosis of ODD were recruited for study group and 25 healthy adolescents were recruited for control group. The study was conducted in King George’s Medical University, Lucknow, India. Theory of Mind sub-test of SOCRATIS was administered through computer to assess the concept of theory of mind. The severity of ODD was assessed through Severity rating scale for ODD patients.

Results: There were significant differences found in theory of mind between the study and control group. Also, significant negative correlation was found between theory of mind and severity of ODD.

Conclusions: Deficits were found in theory of mind of adolescents with ODD. Adolescents with ODD have difficulty in using reasoning abilities to understand what one person (other than self) thinks about another person’s thoughts and identifying a socially awkward situation. This study also concludes that the more severe ODD symptoms are, the more deficits in TOM were found.

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