Developmental Trajectories of Aggressive and Non-Aggressive Conduct Problems
Modeling the heterogeneous trajectories along which antisocial behavior develops in childhood and adolescence may contribute in important ways to understanding antecedents of offending in adult life. This paper examines the development of aggressive and non-aggressive conduct problems in the Great Smoky Mountains Study of Youth, a longitudinal study in the southeastern United States. Aggressive and non-aggressive conduct problems of clinical severity, police contact and arrest, and family and environmental correlates were assessed in four annual interviews for 789 boys and 630 girls aged 9-13 at first interview. The best fitting latent class model identified three developmental trajectories: stable low problem levels, stable high problem levels, and declining levels of conduct problems, for both aggressive and non-aggressive behaviors. Boys were over-represented in the stable high trajectory class on the aggressive trajectory, but sex differences in non-aggressive trajectories were less marked. The overlap between aggressive and non-aggressive trajectory classes was quite limited. Both classifications showed strong associations with risks of police contact and arrest in early adolescence, and with measures of family adversity. The results are discussed in relation to developmental models of conduct disorder and delinquency.
Maughan, B; Pickles, A; Rowe, R; Costello, EJ; Angold, A
Journal of Quantitative Criminology
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