Here's a free practice question to help you get ready for the social work licensing exam:
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 personality disorder?
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 teens. They 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. Want to get lots more preparation? Sign up for SWTP complete practice test!
Happy studying and good luck on the exam!
August 8, 2019