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Tail on an Untold Tale: Response to "Biological and Genetic Contributors to Violence -- Widom's Untold Tale"

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1991
3 pages
There is little research addressing the possible role of genetic factors in relation to child abuse or neglect.
The majority of studies reviewed focus on delinquency, criminality, and antisocial personality -- not violence. There are few genetic studies on delinquency, and those that exist suggest that these behaviors are not highly heritable. There is not necessarily a direct relationship between aggressiveness as a personality trait and delinquency or criminality or violent behavior. However, temperamental differences may be important predictors of whether abused children are likely to become abusive parents or suffer other adjustment problems. Researchers in the area of violence and criminality need to keep an open mind and eye on both the social and biological literature. At the same time, psychologists, psychiatrists, and behavior geneticists need to be familiar with the developing family violence and criminology literatures. 26 references

Date Published: January 1, 1991