Cumulative early childhood adversity and later antisocial behavior: The mediating role of passive avoidance.


Journal Article

Twenty-six percent of children experience a traumatic event by the age of 4. Negative events during childhood have deleterious correlates later in life, including antisocial behavior. However, the mechanisms that play into this relation are unclear. We explored deficits in neurocognitive functioning, specifically problems in passive avoidance, a construct with elements of inhibitory control and learning as a potential acquired mediator for the pathway between cumulative early childhood adversity from birth to age 7 and later antisocial behavior through age 18, using prospective longitudinal data from 585 participants. Path analyses showed that cumulative early childhood adversity predicted impaired passive avoidance during adolescence and increased antisocial behavior during late adolescence. Furthermore, poor neurocognition, namely, passive avoidance, predicted later antisocial behavior and significantly mediated the relation between cumulative early childhood adversity and later antisocial behavior. This research has implications for understanding the development of later antisocial behavior and points to a potential target for neurocognitive intervention within the pathway from cumulative early childhood adversity to later antisocial behavior.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Yazgan, I; Hanson, JL; Bates, JE; Lansford, JE; Pettit, GS; Dodge, KA

Published Date

  • March 23, 2020

Published In

Start / End Page

  • 1 - 11

PubMed ID

  • 32200772

Pubmed Central ID

  • 32200772

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1469-2198

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0954-5794

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1017/s0954579419001809


  • eng