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Antisocial Behaviour Notes

Psychology Notes > Developmental Psychology (2nd year) Notes

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Antisocial behaviour
Antisocial behavioural problems can start earlier than adolescence
Antisocial behaviour is a kind of atypical behaviour
Actions damaging to others: eg violence, theft, destruction of property
Also damaging to the individual eg poor achievement in school, obtaining a criminal record
High prevalence, especially in teenagers
Eaton et al., 2006: large survey of 14-18y/o in US
 19% had carried a weapon in the last 30 days
 36% had been in a fight in the last 12 months
 30% had had their property stolen or damaged at school in the last 12 months
 6% had missed school because of concern for own safety in the last 30 days
How do disorders differ from the normal range of antisocial behaviour?
What are the developmental trajectories for these disorders?
What are the risk factors?
Implications for better prevention and interventions

A broad range of behaviours ranging from mild to serious
Change across development as the individual develops increased physical strength, cognitive abilities, and sexual maturity
Usually less severe behaviours earlier (eg lying, fighting), more severe later (eg burglary, arson)

From conduct problems to conduct disorders
Diagnostic criteria in DSM-V:
ODD: an ongoing pattern of anger-guided disobedience hostility, and defiant behaviour toward authority figure that goes beyond the bounds of normal childhood behaviour
CD: prolonged pattern of antisocial behaviour such as serious violation of laws and social norms and rules.
Often seen as the precursor to antisocial personality disorder, diagnosed from age 18 years
Many children with ODD do not show the more serious conduct problems assoc with CD
But ODD is often a precursor for CD
ODD on average earlier (av onset 6 years) than childhood-onset CD (av onset 9 years)
Most children with CD also show symptoms of ODD

Diagnosis of ODD
Common features include excessive, often persistent anger, frequent tantrums or angry outbursts,
disregard for authority
Symptoms for longer than 6 months and beyond normal child behaviour, eg:

1. Perform actions deliberately to annoy others

2. Argues often

3. Often loses tempers Antisocial behaviour
In DSM-V, diagnoses of CD does not preclude diagnosis of ODD as well
High comorbidity with ADHD and Learning disorders

Diagnosis of CD
Includes repetitive and persistent pattern of behaviour where the basic rights of others of major ageappropriate societal norms or rules are violated
Eg 3 or more of these in the past 12 months

1. Aggression to people and animals

2. Destruction of property

3. Deceitfulness or theft

4. Serious violations of rules
And these behaviours cause sig impairment in social, academic or occupational functioning

1. Child-onset vs adolescent-onset type

2. Mild, moderate, or severe

3. In DSM-5: presence of callous-unemotional (CU) traits, or not
Very high comorbidity with ADHD - 65-90% of children with CD met criteria for ADHD

Conduct Disorder: Associated Problems
Poor academic achievement, esp. reading
Lower than average IQ
School suspension or expulsion
Accidents (due to risk-taking)
Risky sexual behaviours, STDs
Unplanned pregnancy, early teenage parenthood
Earlier onset of sexual behaviour, drinking, smoking, illegal substance use and risk-taking acts
Problems in work adjustment
Legal difficulties, criminal offending
Physical injury from fights
Higher risk of criminal victimization; being killed or maimed
Behaviour may preclude attendance in ordinary schools or living in a parental/foster home
Adulthood: health problems, occupational difficulties, family problems, marital difficulties, criminal offending

Prevalence of ODD and CD
Loeber et al., 2000:
CD: 1.8-16% in boys, 1-9% in girls
ODD: 2-15% in boys, 1.5-15% in girls Antisocial behaviour
Nock, 2007: ODD rel high lifetime prev

11.2% M, 9.2% F
Costello et al., 2003:
Longitudinal community study estimating 3 month prevalence of psychiatric disorders at 9-16 years
Large, longitudinal sample, though from a small area of the US - not rep
Both ODD and CD rates relatively stable over ages 9-16 years
CD rate 3x greater for boys than girls, ODD rate 1.5x greater

ODD and CD are defined and diagnosed as disorders of childhood and adolescence (antisocial personality disorder, APD, may be considered an "adult" version of CD).
How do ODD and CD relate to earlier or later kinds of antisocial behaviour? What overall developmental trajectory are they a part of?
Consider antisocial behaviour more generally - not as part of ODD/CD diagnosis, which is limited to <18y/o
One source of data on antisocial behaviour: legal data (eg convictions)
But note that legal definitions and concerns differ from clinical

Age crime curve
Many data sets show a peak in teenage and early adult years, followed by gradual decline
Adolescence and early adulthood = the peak of antisocial behaviour?
Possible factors: development of physical strength and independence from supervision, perhaps out of sync with cognitive and moral development
But limitations in data of this kind:
No info on antisocial behaviour in childhood
Cross-sectional data means we don't know what the same individuals are doing over time
 Motivation for longitudinal studies in which the same individuals are followed up over many years

Early vs Late Starter Model
Moffitt, 1992:
ASB steadily increases at ages prior to those recorded in criminal statistics (then decrease after an early peak)

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