Thursday, January 07, 2010

Psychopathic children and antisocial adults

A number of studies have linked psychopathy with antisocial behaviour but there has been little research as to whether psychopathic tendencies in childhood and adolescence lead on to antisocial behaviour in adulthood. There has also been little research into whether the relationship might work in the other direction with antisocial behaviour such as rule-breaking and fighting leading on to the development of psychopathy. A team of researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden studied 2,255 people involved in the Swedish twin study following them from childhood into adulthood. They found that psychopathic personality in mid-adolescence predicted antisocial behaviour in adulthood but not vice versa. However, persistent antisocial behaviour in childhood was associated with psychopathy. Psychopathic personality predicted both rule-breaking behaviour and aggressive behaviour. Genetic factors were also found to influence whether the children who were psychopathic earlier in the study went on to display antisocial behaviour later.

Forsman, Mats ... [et al] - A longitudinal twin study of the direction of effects between psychopathic personality and antisocial behaviour Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry January 2010, 51(1), 39-47

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