Development and Psychopathology



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


TERRIE E. MOFFITT a1a2c1 and AVSHALOM CASPI a1a2
a1 University of Wisconsin, Madison
a2 Institute of Psychiatry,King's College, London

Abstract

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.


Correspondence:
c1 T. E. Moffitt, SGDP Research Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, 111 Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AF, UK; E-mail: t.moffitt@iop.kcl.ac.uk.