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Behavior disorders or behaviour disorders reflect persistant patterns of behaviour that cause people difficulty in functioning. They often violate social norms and are associated with negative social evaluation or they breach internal standards of conduct which can lead to shame or guilt and may be labelled as symptoms of mental illness. In societies the behavior is either regarded as of clinical severity, requiring treatment, or criminal requiring the application of the law.

The term should be compared with behavior problems, behavior that is within social norms and which does no seriously impair everyday functioning.

The cultural context of behavior is important here as behavior that might be normal in one culture may be regarded as problem behavior in another and a behavior disorder in another. Certain sexual behaviours for example are viewed differently in different parts of the world.

Such disorders can include:

They may be associated with the following processes:


See also


Mayer, M. (2009). Cognitive behavioral interventions for emotional and behavioral disorders.