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Antisocial Behaviour in Youth: Influences and Recommendations

Hood, Carole
June 4, 2015

Source: (2000) Ph.D. dissertation, Human Resource Development, Graduate Department of Adult Education, Community Development and Counselling Psychology, University of Toronto, Canada. Downloaded 7 March 2005.

This paper presents a theoretical review of research findings concerning predisposing influences for the development of antisocial behaviour in youth, and recommendations for intervention and prevention. An interdisciplinary literature review showed that a number of biopsychosocial factors in the areas of family systems, school community, and genetics/neurology coalesce to predispose to aggression and violence.
In the area of family systems, antisocial influences include family discord and disruption, poor early attachment, parental pathology, and weak family relationships (poor communication, low cohesion). Among the strongest predisposing family variables were paternal involvement with the criminal justice system, harsh and aggressive parenting practices, and paternal alcohol abuse. Parent-child bonding (or attachment) was found to be affected by maternal depression, parents’ isolation, maturity levels, understanding of child development/care, and socio-economic status. Difficult temperament in children may be both an outcome of, and a contributor towards, family stress. Violence in the family exerted profound impact on children, leading to indirect and direct aggression. Single-parent families were found to be at greater overall risk, as were families with high levels of adversity. Violence in the media was found to impact on aggression learned in the home.
Influences in the arena of school/community included co-existing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), reading difficulties, and poor performance on neuropsycho1ogical tests. Socioeconomic disadvantage was correlated with a wide range of negative outcomes including family stress, indirect aggression, academic difficulties, emotional disorders, higher hyperactivity scores, and delinquent behaviour. Author’s abstract.


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