Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 26
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Mikolajewski, Amy J. Bobadilla, Leonardo and Taylor, Jeanette 2016. Encyclopedia of Adolescence.

    Wertz, Jasmin Zavos, Helena M. S. Matthews, Timothy Gray, Rebecca Best-Lane, Janis Pariante, Carmine M. Moffitt, Terrie E. and Arseneault, Louise 2016. Etiology of Pervasive Versus Situational Antisocial Behaviors: A Multi-Informant Longitudinal Cohort Study. Child Development, Vol. 87, Issue. 1, p. 312.

    Pingault, Jean-Baptiste Rijsdijk, Frühling Zheng, Yao Plomin, Robert and Viding, Essi 2015. Developmentally dynamic genome: Evidence of genetic influences on increases and decreases in conduct problems from early childhood to adolescence. Scientific Reports, Vol. 5, p. 10053.

    Reichborn-Kjennerud, T. Czajkowski, N. Ystrøm, E. Ørstavik, R. Aggen, S. H. Tambs, K. Torgersen, S. Neale, M. C. Røysamb, E. Krueger, R. F. Knudsen, G. P. and Kendler, K. S. 2015. A longitudinal twin study of borderline and antisocial personality disorder traits in early to middle adulthood. Psychological Medicine, Vol. 45, Issue. 14, p. 3121.

    Sher, Leo Siever, Larry J. Goodman, Marianne McNamara, Margaret Hazlett, Erin A. Koenigsberg, Harold W. and New, Antonia S. 2015. Gender differences in the clinical characteristics and psychiatric comorbidity in patients with antisocial personality disorder. Psychiatry Research, Vol. 229, Issue. 3, p. 685.

    Silberg, Judy Moore, Ashlee A. and Rutter, Michael 2015. Age of onset and the subclassification of conduct/dissocial disorder. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, Vol. 56, Issue. 7, p. 826.

    Zheng, Yao and Cleveland, H. Harrington 2015. Differential genetic and environmental influences on developmental trajectories of antisocial behavior from adolescence to young adulthood. Journal of Adolescence, Vol. 45, p. 204.

    Anum, Emmanuel A. Silberg, Judy and Retchin, Sheldon M. 2014. Heritability of DUI Convictions: A Twin Study of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol. Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 17, Issue. 01, p. 10.

    Ficks, Courtney A. and Waldman, Irwin D. 2014. Candidate Genes for Aggression and Antisocial Behavior: A Meta-analysis of Association Studies of the 5HTTLPR and MAOA-uVNTR. Behavior Genetics, Vol. 44, Issue. 5, p. 427.

    Jennings, Wesley G. and Dobrow, Jason 2014. The Encyclopedia of Theoretical Criminology.

    Fairchild, Graeme van Goozen, Stephanie H.M. Calder, Andrew J. and Goodyer, Ian M. 2013. Research Review: Evaluating and reformulating the developmental taxonomic theory of antisocial behaviour. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, Vol. 54, Issue. 9, p. 924.

    Wichers, M. Gardner, C. Maes, H. H. Lichtenstein, P. Larsson, H. and Kendler, K. S. 2013. Genetic Innovation and Stability in Externalizing Problem Behavior Across Development: A Multi-Informant Twin Study. Behavior Genetics, Vol. 43, Issue. 3, p. 191.

    Kuja-Halkola, Ralf Pawitan, Yudi D'Onofrio, Brian M. Långström, Niklas and Lichtenstein, Paul 2012. Advancing paternal age and offspring violent offending: A sibling-comparison study. Development and Psychopathology, Vol. 24, Issue. 03, p. 739.

    South, Susan C. Reichborn-Kjennerud, Ted Eaton, Nicholas R. and Krueger, Robert F. 2012. Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition.

    Wood, Jeffrey J. Lynne-Landsman, Sarah D. Langer, David A. Wood, Patricia A. Clark, Shaunna L. Mark Eddy, J. and Ialongo, Nick 2012. School Attendance Problems and Youth Psychopathology: Structural Cross-Lagged Regression Models in Three Longitudinal Data Sets. Child Development, Vol. 83, Issue. 1, p. 351.

    Tuvblad, Catherine Narusyte, Jurgita Grann, Martin Sarnecki, Jerzy and Lichtenstein, Paul 2011. The Genetic and Environmental Etiology of Antisocial Behavior from Childhood to Emerging Adulthood. Behavior Genetics, Vol. 41, Issue. 5, p. 629.

    Agrawal, Arpana Silberg, Judy L. Lynskey, Michael T. Maes, Hermine H. and Eaves, Lindon J. 2010. Mechanisms underlying the lifetime co-occurrence of tobacco and cannabis use in adolescent and young adult twins. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Vol. 108, Issue. 1-2, p. 49.

    Eaves, Lindon J. Prom, Elizabeth C. and Silberg, Judy L. 2010. The Mediating Effect of Parental Neglect on Adolescent and Young Adult Anti-Sociality: A Longitudinal Study of Twins and Their Parents. Behavior Genetics, Vol. 40, Issue. 4, p. 425.

    Reichborn-Kjennerud, Ted 2010. Genetics of Personality Disorders. Clinics in Laboratory Medicine, Vol. 30, Issue. 4, p. 893.

    Frick, Paul J. and Viding, Essi 2009. Antisocial behavior from a developmental psychopathology perspective. Development and Psychopathology, Vol. 21, Issue. 04, p. 1111.


Etiological heterogeneity in the development of antisocial behavior: the Virginia Twin Study of Adolescent Behavioral Development and the Young Adult Follow-Up

  • DOI:
  • Published online: 22 March 2007

Longitudinal, genetically informed, prospective data collected on a large population of male twins (n=1037) were used to examine developmental differences in the etiology of antisocial behavior.


Analyses were carried out on both mother- and child-reported symptoms of conduct disorder (CD) in 10- to 17-year-old twins from the Virginia Twin Study of Adolescent Behavioral Development (VTSABD) and self-reported antisocial behavior by the twins as young adults from the Young Adult Follow-Up (YAFU) study.


The following trends were identified: (1) a single genetic factor influencing antisocial behavior beginning at age 10 through young adulthood (‘life-course persistent’); (2) a shared-environmental effect beginning in adolescence (‘adolescent-onset’); (3) a transient genetic effect at puberty; and (4) a genetic influence specific to adult antisocial behavior.


Overall, these etiological findings are consistent with predictions from Moffitt's developmental theory of antisocial behavior. The genetic effect at puberty at ages 12–15 is also consistent with a genetically mediated influence on the timing of puberty affecting the expression of genetic differences in antisocial outcomes.

Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: Judy L. Silberg, Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Department of Human Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, P.O. Box 980003, Richmond, VA 23298-0003, USA. (Email:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

A. Angold , M. Prendergast , A. Cox , R. C. Harrington , E. Simonoff & M. Rutter (1995). The Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Assessment (CAPA). Psychological Medicine 25, 739753.

R. A. Barkley , M. Fischer , C. Edelbrock & L. Smallish (1991). The adolescent outcome of hyperactive children diagnosed by research criteria: III. Mother–child interactions, family conflicts and maternal psychopathology. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 32, 233255.

G. Carey (2005). Cholesky problems. Behavior Genetics 35, 653665.

A. Caspi , J. McClay , T. E. Moffitt , J. Mill , J. Martin , I. W. Craig , A. Taylor & R. Poulton (2002). Role of genotype in the cycle of violence in maltreated children. Science 297, 851854.

L. J. Eaves , K. A. Last , N. G. Martin & J. L. Jinks (1977). A progressive approach to non-additivity and genotype-environmental covariance in the analysis of human differences. British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology 30, 142.

L. J. Eaves & J. Silberg (2003). Modulation of gene expression by genetic and environmental heterogeneity in the timing of a developmental milestone. Behavior Genetics 33, 16.

L. Eaves , J. Silberg , D. Foley , C. Bulik , H. Maes , A. Erkanli , A. Angold , E. J. Costello & C. Worthman (2004). Genetic and environmental influences on the relative timing of pubertal change. Twin Research and Human Genetics 7, 471481.

L. J. Eaves , J. L. Silberg , J. M. Meyers , H. Maes , E. Simonoff , M. C. Neale , A. Pickles , C. Reynolds , M. Erickson , A. C. Heath , R. Loeber , M. Rutter & J. K. Hewitt (1997). The main effects of genes and environment on major behavioral problems of adolescence in the Virginia Twin Study of Adolescent Behavioral Development. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 38, 965980.

J. Elander , M. Rutter , E. Simonoff & A. Pickles (2000 a). Explanations for apparent late onset criminality in a high-risk sample of children followed-up in adult life. British Journal of Criminology 40, 497509.

J. Elander , E. Simonoff , A. Pickles , J. Holmshaw & M. Rutter (2000 b). Longitudinal study of adolescent and adult conviction rates among children referred to psychiatric services for behavioural or emotional problems. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health 10, 4059.

S. V. Faraone , J. Biederman , W. J. Chen , S. Milberger , R. Warburton & M. T. Tsuang (1995). Genetic heterogeneity in ADHD: gender, psychiatric comorbidity, and maternal ADHD. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 104, 334345.

J. L. Jinks & D. W. Fulker (1970). Comparison of the biometrical genetical, MAVA and classical approaches to the analysis of human behavior. Psychological Bulletin 73, 311349.

B. B. Lahey , J. C. Piacentini , K. McBurnett , P. Stone , S. Hartdagen & G. Hynd (1988). Psychopathology in the parents of children with conduct disorder and hyperactivity. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 27, 163170.

K. Lange , J. Westlake & M. A. Spence (1976). Programs for pedigree analysis: III. Variance components by the scoring method. Annals of Human Genetics 39, 485491.

B. Maughan , R. Rowe , J. Messer , R. Goodman & H. Meltzer (2006). Conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder in a national sample: developmental epidemiology. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 45, 609620.

D. R. Miles & G. Carey (1997). The genetic and environmental architecture of human aggression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 72, 207217.

T. E. Moffitt (1990). Juvenile delinquency and attention deficit disorder: boys' developmental trajectories from age 3 to age 15. Child Development 61, 893910.

T. E. Moffitt (1993). Adolescent-limited and life-course-persistent antisocial behavior: a developmental taxonomy. Psychological Review 100, 674701.

T. E. Moffitt & A. Caspi (2001). Childhood predictors differentiate life-course-persistent and adolescent-limited antisocial pathways among males and females. Development and Psychopathology 13, 355375.

M. C. Neale & L. R. Cardon (1992). Methodology for Genetic Studies of Twins and Families. Kluwer Academic: Dordrecht.

M. Rutter , B. Maughan , J. Meyer , J. Silberg , E. Simonoff & E. Taylor (1997). Heterogeneity of antisocial behavior: causes, continuities, and consequences. In Nebraska Symposium on Motivation: Vol. 44. Motivation and Delinquency (ed. R. Dienstbier and D. W. Osgood ), pp. 45118. University of Nebraska Press: Lincoln, NE.

J. L. Silberg , M. C. Neale , M. Rutter & L. J. Eaves (2001). Genetic and environmental influences on the temporal association between early anxiety and later depression in girls. Biological Psychiatry 49, 10401049.

J. Taylor , W. G. Iacono & M. McGue (2000). Evidence for a genetic etiology for early-onset delinquency. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 109, 634643.

Recommend this journal

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

Psychological Medicine
  • ISSN: 0033-2917
  • EISSN: 1469-8978
  • URL: /core/journals/psychological-medicine
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *