Journal of Clinical Pediatrics and Neonatal Care

Three Theories that Explain why Male Antisocial Behavior in Childhood Predicts Male Antisocial Behavior in Adulthood

*Dr. Robert Eme
Department Of Pediatrics, Argosy University, United States

*Corresponding Author:
Dr. Robert Eme
Department Of Pediatrics, Argosy University, United States

Published on: 2016-08-26


There is strong evidence from prospective longitudinal studies that psychopathology in childhood robustly predicts psychopathology in adulthood [1]. Lahey [1] has recently reviewed three of the major theories for this strong predictive correlation. This article will present a brief overview of these theories as applied to male life-course-persistent (MLCP) antisocial behavior which is arguably the most important of all pediatric mental health problems [2]. MLCP refers to the childhood onset of severe overt conduct problems such as physical aggression, opposition-defiance, and rule-breaking that emerge from early neurodevelopmental (e.g., Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and environmental adversity risk factors (e.g., dysfunctional family) which greatly increases the risk for delinquency, adult criminality, and a host of other problems [3]. The focus on LCP that is male is appropriate as males are astonishingly 10 to 14 times more likely than females to develop LCP [3]. The much greater prevalence of MLCP receives strong support from research in the criminological literature on career criminality [4], which reports male/female ratios ranging from 9:1 to 12:1 [5]. Indeed, of all the multiple bio-psycho-social risk factors for the development of severe antisocial behavior, “maleness” is by far the most robust predictor [6,7]. Thus it is of high importance to understand why male antisocial behavior childhood is a strong predictor of male antisocial behavior in adulthood. In addition to presenting a brief overview of the three theories, the communication will also provide an example with each theory that helps explain why LCP is overwhelmingly male.




The first theory suggests that some or all of the same biological causes of adult antisocial behavior occur early in life and continue to operate into adulthood [1]. A prime example comes from the work of Adrian Raine and colleagues who have documented a substantial body of empirical research that implicates biological risk factors in the development of antisocial behavior [8 -11]. One such factor is low resting heart rate which is indicative of low arousal of the autonomic nervous system.