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Antisocial behavior from a developmental psychopathology perspective

  • Paul J. Frick (a1) and Essi Viding (a2)

This paper reviews research on chronic patterns of antisocial behavior and places this research into a developmental psychopathology framework. Specifically, research suggests that there are at least three important pathways through which children and adolescents can develop severe antisocial behaviors. One group of youth shows antisocial behavior that begins in adolescence, and two groups show antisocial behavior that begins in childhood but differ on the presence or absence of callous–unemotional traits. In outlining these distinct pathways to antisocial behavior, we have tried to illustrate some key concepts from developmental psychopathology such as equifinality and multifinality, the importance of understanding the interface between normal and abnormal development, and the importance of using multiple levels of analyses to advance causal theories. Finally, we discuss how this development model can be used to enhance existing interventions for antisocial individuals.

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Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Paul J. Frick, Department of Psychology, University of New Orleans, 2001 Geology and Psychology Building, New Orleans, LA 70148; E-mail:
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