Here's a free
practice question to help you get ready for the social work
A 15-year-old boy is court-ordered into therapy after
several brushes with the law, including charges for breaking and
entering, assaulting a classmate, and driving a stolen vehicle.
Although the boy witnessed all these incidents, he appears
unconcerned and denies he was involved in any of them. The MOST
appropriate diagnosis is:
A. Conduct disorder
C. Antisocial personality disorder
D. Substance abuse
What do you think?
Here are the steps to getting the question answered. First, ask
yourself what type of question is this? That's easy. It's a DSM
question. DSM questions usually involve either just knowing the
answer out of the gate or using process of elimination to get to
the correct answer. Let's do that.
Schizophrenia involves a break with reality, usually evident in
the form of hallucinations or delusions. This client shows no
symptoms of psychosis. Strike answer B.
There is no indication that the client has a substance-abuse
problem. Strike answer D.
Now you're left with two plausible-seeming answers. This happens
all the time as you're taking the ASWB exam. Choosing between the
last two answers standing calls for you to dig deep into your
social work info in these cases.
So, what do you know about conduct disorder and antisocial
Even if you don't recall much about either, there's a way to get
this answered. Personality disorders are lifelong, correct? How old
is this client? Just 15. Can you even diagnose a personality
disorder at 15? You don't need to know the answer to that last
question to have just enough gut feeling to push you toward one
answer over the other.
(Yes, most personality disorders can be diagnosed in
rarely are. Antisocial personality disorder is
usually reserved for people over 18.)
So, with some narrowing down and a little bit of common-sense
guesswork you have your answer: A, Conduct disorder. Conduct
disorder is the preferred diagnosis when a child acts out in ways
that are incompatible with the rules and laws of society.
And now you're that much more prepared to go pass the ASWB exam.
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Happy studying and good luck on the exam!