Life-course persistent and adolescence-limited antisocial males: Longitudinal followup to adulthood


Journal Article (Chapter)

© Cambridge University Press 2005 and Cambridge University Press, 2009. This chapter tests and refines a developmental taxonomy of antisocial behavior, which proposed two primary hypothetical prototypes: life-course persistent offenders whose antisocial behavior begins in childhood and continues worsening thereafter, versus adolescence-limited offenders whose antisocial behavior begins in adolescence and desists in young adulthood (Moffitt, 1993). Two of our previous reports have described clinically defined groups of childhood-onset and adolescence-onset antisocial youths in the Dunedin birth cohort during childhood (Moffitt & Caspi, 2001) and at age 18 (Moffitt, Caspi, Dickson, Silva, & Stanton, 1996). Recently we followed up the cohort at age 26, and here we describe how the two groups of males fared in adulthood. In so doing we test a hypothesis critical to the theory: that childhood-onset, but not adolescent-onset, antisocial behavior is associated in adulthood with antisocial personality, violence, and continued serious antisocial behavior that expands into maladjustment in work life and victimization of partners and children (Moffitt, 1993). The Two Prototypes and Their Predicted Adult Outcomes: According to the theory, life-course persistent antisocials are few, persistent, and pathological. Adolescence-limited antisocials are common, relatively temporary, and near normative. The developmental typology hypothesized that childhood-onset versus adolescent-onset conduct problems have different etiologies. In addition, the typology differed from other developmental crime theories by predicting different outcome pathways for the two types across the adult life-course (Caspi & Moffitt, 1995; Moffitt, 1993, 1994, 1997).

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Moffitt, TE; Caspi, A

Published Date

  • January 1, 2005

Start / End Page

  • 161 - 186

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1017/CBO9780511499883.009

Citation Source

  • Scopus