O.D.D. DSM-V Diagnostic Criteria

We have recently posted two blog posts on this subject:

Stop Calling Children “Defiant”

ODD Does Not Exist

We have included the DSM-V criteria for an ODD diagnosis below for further information.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder is not a valid diagnosis approximately 99%* of the time 

I will explain how my research and experience combined have taught me that Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is not a valid diagnosis approximately 99%* of the time.

*Please note: 99% is an entirely made-up statistic based on my opinion, however I will provide evidence to explain how and why I have formed this opinion. 

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

Also known as one stressed out kid lacking coping skills. 

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) defines ODD as a recurrent pattern of negativistic, defiant, disobedient, and hostile behaviour towards authority figures (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

The DSM-V diagnostic criteria for ODD requires a pattern of angry/irritable mood, argumentative/defiant behavior, or vindictiveness lasting at least 6 months as evidenced by at least four symptoms of the following categories, and exhibited during interaction with at least one individual who is not a sibling.

Angry/Irritable Mood

  1. Often loses temper.
  2. Is often touchy or easily annoyed.
  3. Is often angry and resentful.

Argumentative/Defiant Behavior

  1. Often argues with authority figures or, for children and adolescents, with adults.
  2. Often actively defies or refuses to comply with requests from authority figures or with rules.
  3. Often deliberately annoys others.
  4. Often blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior.


  1. Has been spiteful or vindictive at least twice within the past 6 months.

(American Psychiatric Association, 2013).


Aggarwal, A. & Marwaha, R. (2020). Oppositional Defiant Disorder. In: StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557443].

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). [https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596].

Barkley, R. A. (Ed.). (2015). Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: A handbook for diagnosis and treatment (4th ed.). The Guilford Press.

For more about Positive Parenting and the Perils of Punishment, check out our story series:

Published by Neurodiversity MB

Jillian has Child and Youth Work diploma as well as a BA in Psychology. Jillian worked on the front lines of Social Services agencies from 2003 - 2012. Jillian has taken numerous continuing education courses and has attended various workshops focused on supporting neurodiverse children, in particular children with ADHD.

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