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J Crim Justice. 2013 Sep;41(5):277-284.

The genetic and environmental overlap between aggressive and non-aggressive antisocial behavior in children and adolescents using the self-report delinquency interview (SR-DI).

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Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, USA.
Department of Criminology, University of Pennsylvania, USA ; Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, USA ; Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, USA.



This study investigated genetic and environmental commonalities and differences between aggressive and non-aggressive antisocial behavior (ASB) in male and female child and adolescent twins, based on a newly developed self-report questionnaire with good reliability and external validity - the Self-Report Delinquency Interview (SR-DI).


Subjects were 780 pairs of twins assessed through laboratory interviews at three time points in a longitudinal study, during which the twins were: (1) ages 9-10 years; (2) age 11-13 years, and (3) age 16-18 years.


Sex differences were repeatedly observed for mean levels of ASB. In addition, diverse change patterns of genetic and environmental emerged, as a function of sex and form of ASB, during the development from childhood to adolescence. Although there was some overlap in etiologies of aggressive and non-aggressive ASB, predominantly in shared environmental factors, their genetic overlap was moderate and the non-shared environmental overlap was low.


Taken together, these results reinforced the importance of differentiating forms of ASB and further investigating sex differences in future research. These results should be considered in future comparisons between youth self-report and parental or teacher report of child and adolescent behavior, and may help elucidate commonalities and differences among informants.

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