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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2008 Jun 1;95 Suppl 1:S45-59. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2007.10.015. Epub 2008 Feb 19.

Developmental epidemiological courses leading to antisocial personality disorder and violent and criminal behavior: effects by young adulthood of a universal preventive intervention in first- and second-grade classrooms.

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  • 1University of Maryland College Park, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, College Park, MD 20742, USA.



Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), violent and criminal behavior, and drug abuse disorders share the common antecedent of early aggressive, disruptive behavior. In the 1985-1986 school year teachers implemented the Good Behavior Game (GBG), a classroom behavior management strategy targeting aggressive, disruptive behavior and socializing children to the student role. From first through seventh grade the developmental trajectories of 2311 students from 19 Baltimore City Public Schools were examined. We report the GBG impact on these trajectories and ASPD and violent and criminal behavior by age 19-21.


In five urban, poor to lower middle class predominately African-American areas, three to four schools were matched and within each set randomly assigned to one of three conditions: (1) GBG, (2) a reading achievement program, or (3) the standard program. Classrooms and teachers were randomly assigned to intervention or control. Measures at 19-21 included self reports and juvenile court and adult incarceration records. GBG impact was assessed via General Growth Mixture Modeling based on repeated measures of aggressive, disruptive behavior.


Three trajectories of aggressive, disruptive behavior were identified. By young adulthood, GBG significantly reduced the rates of ASPD and violent and criminal behavior among males in the persistent high aggressive, disruptive trajectory. REPLICATION: A replication was implemented with the following cohort of first-grade children using the same teachers, but with diminished mentoring and monitoring. Beneficial impact was found among persistent high males through seventh grade. By young adulthood GBG effects on ASPD and violent and criminal behavior were non-significant, but generally in the hypothesized direction.

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