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Dev Psychopathol. 2001 Spring;13(2):355-75.

Childhood predictors differentiate life-course persistent and adolescence-limited antisocial pathways among males and females.

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  • 1University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA.


This article reports a comparison on childhood risk factors of males and females exhibiting childhood-onset and adolescent-onset antisocial behavior, using data from the Dunedin longitudinal study. Childhood-onset delinquents had childhoods of inadequate parenting, neurocognitive problems, and temperament and behavior problems, whereas adolescent-onset delinquents did not have these pathological backgrounds. Sex comparisons showed a male-to-female ratio of 10:1 for childhood-onset delinquency but a sex ratio of only 1.5:1 for adolescence-onset delinquency. Showing the same pattern as males, childhood-onset females had high-risk backgrounds but adolescent-onset females did not. These findings are consistent with core predictions from the taxonomic theory of life-course persistent and adolescence-limited antisocial behavior.

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