Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Childhood-onset versus adolescent-onset antisocial conduct problems in males: Natural history from ages 3 to 18 years

  • Terrie E. Moffitt (a1), Avshalom Caspi (a1), Nigel Dickson (a2), Phil Silva (a2) and Warren Stanton (a3)...
Abstract
Abstract

We report data that support the distinction between childhood-onset and adolescent-onset type conduct problems. Natural histories are described from a representative birth cohort of 457 males studied longitudinally from age 3 to 18 years. Childhood- and adolescent-onset cases differed on temperament as early as age 3 years, but almost half of childhood-onset cases did not become seriously delinquent. Type comparisons were consistent with our contention that males whose antisocial behavior follows a life-course-persistent path differ from males who follow an adolescence-limited path. As adolescents, the two types differed on convictions for violent crime, personality profiles, school leaving, and bonds to family. These differences can be attributed to developmental history because the two groups were well matched on measures of antisocial conduct at age 18 years: parent-reports, self-reports, and adjudication records. By age 18 years, many conduct-problem boys had encountered factors that could ensnare them in an antisocial future: substance dependence, unsafe sex, dangerous driving habits, delinquent friends, delinquent perceptions, and unemployment. Implications for theory, research design, prevention, and therapeutic treatment of conduct problems are highlighted.

Copyright
Corresponding author
University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dept. of Psychology, 1202 W. Johnson St., Madison, WI 53706
References
Hide All
Achenbach T. M. (1993). Taxonomy and comorbidity of conduct problems: Evidence from empirically based approaches. Development and Psychopathology, 5, 5164.
American Psychiatric Association. (1968, 1980, 1987, 1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (2nd ed.; 3rd ed.; 3rd ed. rev.; 4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
Anderson J. C., Williams S. M., McGee R. O., & Silva P. A. (1987). DSM-III disorders in preadoles-cent children—Prevalence in a large sample from the general population. Archives of General Psychiatry, 44, 6976.
Blumstein A., & Cohen J. (1987). Characterizing criminal careers. Science, 237, 985991.
Caspi A., Henry B., McGee R. O., Moffitt T. E., & Silva P. A. (1995). Temperamental origins of child and adolescent behavior problems: From age 3 to age 15. Child Development, 66, 5568.
Caspi A., & Moffitt T. E. (1995). The continuity of maladaptive behavior: From description to understanding in the study of antisocial behavior. In Cicchetti D. & Cohen D. (Eds.), Manual of Developmental Psychopathology (pp. 472511). New York: Wiley.
Cloninger C. R. (1987). A systematic method for clinical description and classification of personality variants. Archives of General Psychiatry, 44, 573588.
Cohen J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Costello A., Edelbrock C., Kalas R., Kessler M., & Klaric S. (1982). National Institute of Mental Health Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children. Rockville, MD: National Institute of Mental Health.
Dickson N., Paul C., & Herbison P. (1993). Adolescents, sexual behavior, and implications for an epidemic of HIV/AIDS among the young. Genitourinary Medicine, 69, 133140.
Elliott D. S., & Huizinga D. (1984). The relationship between delinquent behavior and ADM problems. Paper presented at the ADAMHA/OJJDP State of the Art Research Conference of Juvenile Offenders with Serious Drug, Alcohol and Mental Health Problems, Rockville, MD: National Institute of Justice Clearinghouse.
Elliott D. S., & Huizinga D. (1989). Improving self-reported measures of delinquency. In Klein M. W. (Ed.), Cross-national research in self-reported crime and delinquency, (pp. 155186). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic.
Eysenck H. J. (1977). Crime and personality. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Farrington D. P. (1986). Age and crime. In Tonry M. & Morris N. (Eds.), Crime and Justice: An Annual Review of Research (pp. 189250). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Farrington D. P., Loeber R., Elliott D. S., Hawkins D. J., Kandel D. B., Klein M. W., McCord J., Rowe D., & Tremblay R. (1990). Advancing knowledge about the onset of delinquency and crime. In Lahey B. & Kazdin A. (Eds.), Advances in clinical child psychology, vol. 13 (pp. 231342). New York: Plenum Press.
Farrington D. P., Ohlin L., & Wilson J. Q. (1986). Understanding and controlling crime. New York: Springer Verlag.
Feehan M., McGee R., NadaRaja S., & Williams S. (1994). DSM-III-R disorders in New Zealand 18-year-olds. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 28, 8799.
Fendrich M., & Vaughn C. (1994). Diminished lifetime substance abuse over time. Public Opinion Quarterly, 58, 96123.
Henry B., Moffitt T. E., Caspi A., Langley J., & Silva P. A. (1994). On the “remembrance of things past”: A longitudinal evaluation of the retrospective method. Psychological Assessment, 6, 92101.
Henry B., Moffitt T. E., Robins L. N., Earls F., & Silva P. A. (1993). Early family predictors of child and adolescent antisocial behavior: Who are the mothers of antisocial boys? Criminal Behavior and Mental Health, 3, 97118.
Hinshaw S., Lahey B., & Hart E. (1993). Issues of taxonomy and comorbidity in the development of conduct disorder. Development and Psychopathology. 5, 3150.
Jessor R., & Jessor S. L. (1977). Problem behavior and psychosocial development: A longitudinal study of youth. New York: Academic Press.
Kazdin A. E. (1987). Treatment of antisocial behavior in children: Current status and future directions. Psychological Bulletin, 102, 187203.
Kazdin A. E., & Mazurick J. L. (1994). Dropping out of child psychotherapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 62, 10691074.
Kellam S. G., Rebok G. W., Ialongo N., & Mayer L. (1994). The course and malleability of aggressive behavior from early first grade into middle school: Results of a developmental epidemiologically based preventive trial. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 35, 259281.
Klein M. W. (1984). Offense specialization and versatility among juveniles: A review of the evidence. British Journal of Criminology, 24, 185194.
Klein M. W. (1986). Labelling theory and delinquency policy. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 13, 4779.
Klein M. W. (1987). Watch out for that last variable. In Mednick S., Moffitt T. E., & Stack S. A. (Eds.), The causes of crime: New biological approaches (pp. 2541). Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.
Krueger R., Schmutte P. S., Caspi A., Moffitt T. E., Campbell K., & Silva P. A. (1994). Personality traits are linked to crime among males and females: Evidence from a birth cohort. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 103. 328338.
Loeber R., & LeBlanc M. (1990). Toward a developmental criminology. In Tonry M. & Morris N. (Eds.), Crime and justice: An annual review of research (pp. 375473). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Loeber R., & Schmaling K. B. (1985). Empirical evidence for overt and covert patterns of antisocial conduct problems: A meta-analysis. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 13, 337352.
McGee R., Feehan M., Williams S., & Anderson J. (1992). DSM-III disorders from age 11 to 15 years. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 31, 5059.
McGee R., Williams S. M., & Silva P. A. (1985). Factor structure and correlates of ratings of inattention, hyperactivity, and antisocial behavior in a large sample of 9 year old children from the general population. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 53, 480490.
Moffitt T. E. (1989). Accommodating self-report methods to a low-delinquency culture: Experience from New Zealand. In Klein M. W. (Ed.), Crossnational research in self-reported crime and delinquency (pp. 4366). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic.
Moffitt T. E. (1990). Juvenile delinquency and attention-deficit disorder: Developmental trajectories from age three to fifteen. Child Development, 61, 893910.
Moffitt T. E. (1993a). “Life-course-persistent” and “adolescent-limited” antisocial behavior: A developmental taxonomy. Psychological Review, 100, 674701.
Moffitt T. E. (1993b). The neuropsychology of conduct disorder. Development and Psychopathology, 5, 135151.
Moffitt T. E. (in press). Adolescence-limited and life-course-persistent offending: A complementary pair of developmental theories. In Thornberry T. (Ed.), Advances in criminological theory: Developmental theories of crime and delinquency. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.
Moffitt T. E., Caspi A., Silva P. A., & Stouthamcr-Loeber M. (1995). Individual differences in personality and intelligence are linked to crime: Cross-context evidence from nations, neighborhoods, genders, races, and age-cohorts. In Hagan J. (Ed.), Current perspectives on aging and the life cycle, Vol. 4: Delinquency and disrepute in the life course: Contextual and dynamic analyses (pp. 134). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.
Moffitt T. E., Lynam D., & Silva P. A. (1994). Neuropsychological tests predict persistent male delinquency. Criminology, 32, 101124.
Moffitt T. E., Mednick S. A., & Gabrielli W. F. (1989). Predicting criminal violence: Descriptive data and predispositional factors. In Brizer D. & Crowner M. (Eds.), Current approaches to the prediction of violence (pp. 1334). New York: American Psychiatric Association Press.
Moffitt T. E., Silva P. A., Lynam D., & Henry B. (1994). Self-reported delinquency at age 18: New Zealand's Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study. In Junger-Tas J. & Terlouw G. J. (Eds.), The international self-report delinquency project (pp. 354369). Amsterdam: Kugler.
Nagin D. S., Farrington D. P., & Moffitt T. E. (1995). Life-course trajectories of different types of offenders. Criminology, 33, 111140.
Nagin D. S., & Land K. C. (1993). Age, criminal careers, and population heterogeneity: Specification and estimation of a nonparametric, mixed poison model. Criminology, 31, 327362.
Olweus D. (1991). Bully-victim problems among schoolchildren: Basic facts and effects of a school-based intervention program. In Pepler D. & Rubin K. (Eds.), The development and treatment of childhood aggression (pp. 411448). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Patterson G. R., & Yoerger K. (1993). Developmental models for delinquent behavior. In Hodgins S. (Ed.), Mental disorder and crime (pp. 140172). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Quay H. C. (1964). Personality dimensions in delinquent males as inferred from the factor analysis of behavior ratings. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 1, 3337.
Quay H. C. (1987). Patterns of delinquent behavior. In Quay H. C. (Ed.), Handbook of juvenile delinquency (pp. 118138). New York: Wiley.
Quay H. C., & Peterson D. R. (1987). Revised behavior problem checklist: Interim manual. Coral Gables, FL: University of Miami.
Quinton D., Pickles A., Maughan B., & Rutter M. (1993). Partners, peers, and pathways: Assortative pairing and continuities in conduct disorder. Development and Psychopathology, 5, 763783.
Raine A. (1993). The psychopathology of crime: Criminal behavior as a clinical disorder. New York: Academic Press.
Raine A., Brennan P., & Mednick S. A. (1994). Birth complications combined with early maternal rejection at age 1 year predispose to violent crime at age 18 years. Archives of General Psychiatry, 51, 984988.
Robins L. N. (1978). Sturdy childhood predictors of adult antisocial behavior: Replications from longitudinal studies. Psychological Medicine, 8, 611622.
Robins L. N., & Regier D. A. (1991). Psychiatric disorders in America. New York: Free Press.
Rutter M., Tizard J., & Whitmore K. (1970). Education, health, and behavior. New York: Wiley.
Sampson R. J., & Laub J. H. (1993). Crime in the making. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Shedler J., & Block J. (1990). Adolescent drug use and psychological health. American Psychologist, 45, 612630.
Silva P. A. (1990). The Dunedin multidisciplinary health and development study: A fifteen-year longitudinal study. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, 4, 96127.
Tabachnik B. G., & Fidell L. S. (1983). Using multivariate statistics. New York: Harper & Row.
Tellegen A. (1982). Brief manual for the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota.
Tellegen A., Lykken D. T., Bouchard T. J., Wilcox K. J., Segal N. L., & Rich S. (1988). Personality similarity in twins reared apart and together. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 6, 10311039.
Tellegen A., & Waller N. G. (in press). Exploring personality through test construction: Development of Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire. In Briggs S. R. & Cheek J. M. (Eds.), Personality measures: Development and evaluation (vol. 1). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.
White J., Moffitt T. E., Caspi A., Jeglum-Bartusch D., Needles D., & Stouthamer-Loeber M. (1994). Measuring impulsivity and examining its relation to delinquency. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 103, 192205.
Wright B., Caspi A., Moffitt T., & Silva P. (1995). Because you had no place to stay: Doubled-up housing during the transition to adulthood. Manuscript submitted for publication.
Yoshikawa H. (1994). Prevention as cumulative protection: Effects of early family support and education on chronic delinquency and its risks. Psychological Bulletin, 115, 2854.
Zuckerman M. (1989). Personality in the third dimension: A psychobiological approach. Personality and Individual Differences. 10, 391418.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Development and Psychopathology
  • ISSN: 0954-5794
  • EISSN: 1469-2198
  • URL: /core/journals/development-and-psychopathology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 1
Total number of PDF views: 311 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 2216 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.