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J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2006 Jun;34(3):293-302. Epub 2006 May 23.

Links between antisocial behavior and depressed mood: the role of life events and attributional style.

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Institute of Psychiatry, MRC Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, King's College London, London, U.K.


Comorbidity between antisocial behavior and depression in adolescence is widely recognized. This paper examines whether links with depressed mood differ among three subtypes of antisocial behavior: oppositionality, physical aggression and delinquency. In addition we examine two possible contributors to these links: negative life events that are dependent upon the individual's actions and depressogenic attributional style. Data are drawn from the G1219 large-scale community twin and sibling sample, and include 2409 questionnaire responses from youths aged between 13 and 19 living in the United Kingdom. Depressed mood was independently associated with both oppositionality and delinquency, but not with physical aggression. Dependent negative life events were strongly implicated in the association between delinquency and depressed mood, whereas depressogenic attributional style was implicated in the associations of both oppositionality and delinquency with depressed mood. Oppositionality remained a significant predictor of depressed mood after accounting for attributional style and life events whereas delinquency did not. The pattern of associations was largely similar in boys and girls. We discuss these results in terms of developmental models of the links between antisocial behavior and depressed mood.

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