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Maternal Risk Factors, Early Life Events, and Deviant Outcomes: Assessing Antisocial Pathways From Birth Through Adolescence

NCJ Number
Date Published
202 pages
This paper assesses antisocial pathways from birth through adolescence.
The life-course perspective has been instrumental in exploring relationships between early life circumstances, childhood problem behaviors, and adolescent and adult offending. This dissertation focuses on three areas that are central to the life-course perspective: development of childhood antisocial behavior, factors that foster the stability of antisocial behavior, and debate over the existence of multiple routes to delinquency. Particular research questions focus on whether biosocial interactions predict childhood antisocial behavior, whether processes of cumulative continuity account for stability in antisocial behavior, and whether discrete offender groups differ on risk markers for delinquency. The research used a sample of 1,030 individuals from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth Mother-Child data set to examine the onset and persistence of antisocial behavior. Findings suggested that, while both individual differences and structural adversity predicted childhood antisocial behavior, these factors operated in an additive rather than interactive fashion. Both stability and change were evident in the development of antisocial behavior from childhood to adolescence, and early antisocial behavior was an insufficient cause of delinquency. There were some differences (including verbal intelligence and poverty status) between individuals with a history of childhood antisocial behavior and those who began offending in adolescence, but these differences are overshadowed by similarities between the groups. Notes, tables, figures, references, appendix

Date Published: January 1, 2000