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The protective effect of character maturity in child aggressive antisocial behavior

Kerekes, Nóra LU ; Falk, Örjan; Brändström, Sven; Anckarsäter, Henrik LU ; Råstam, Maria LU and Hofvander, Björn LU (2017) In Comprehensive Psychiatry 76. p.129-137
Abstract

Background Childhood aggressive antisocial behavior (CD) is one of the strongest predictors of mental health problems and criminal behavior in adulthood. The aims of this study were to describe personality profiles in children with CD, and to determine the strength of association between defined neurodevelopmental symptoms, dimensions of character maturity and CD. Methods A sample of 1886 children with a close to equal distribution of age (9 or 12) and gender, enriched for neurodevelopmental and psychiatric problems were selected from the nationwide Child and Adolescent Twin Study in Sweden. Their parents rated them according to the Junior Temperament and Character Inventory following a telephone interview during which information about... (More)

Background Childhood aggressive antisocial behavior (CD) is one of the strongest predictors of mental health problems and criminal behavior in adulthood. The aims of this study were to describe personality profiles in children with CD, and to determine the strength of association between defined neurodevelopmental symptoms, dimensions of character maturity and CD. Methods A sample of 1886 children with a close to equal distribution of age (9 or 12) and gender, enriched for neurodevelopmental and psychiatric problems were selected from the nationwide Child and Adolescent Twin Study in Sweden. Their parents rated them according to the Junior Temperament and Character Inventory following a telephone interview during which information about the children's development and mental health was assessed with the Autism-Tics, AD/HD and other Comorbidities inventory. Result Scores on the CD module significantly and positively correlated with scores on the Novelty Seeking temperament dimension and negatively with scores on character maturity (Self-Directedness and Cooperativeness). In the group of children with either neurodevelopmental or behavioral problems, the prevalence of low or very low character maturity was 50%, while when these two problems coexisted the prevalence of low or very low character maturity increased to 70%. Neurodevelopmental problems (such as: oppositional defiant disorder, symptoms of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder) and low scores on character maturity emerged as independently significant predictors of CD; in a multivariable model, only oppositional defiant symptoms and impulsivity significantly increased the risk for coexisting CD while a mature self-agency in a child (Self-Directedness) remained a significant protective factor. Conclusion These results suggest that children's willpower, the capacity to achieve personally chosen goals may be an important protective factor – even in the presence of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric problems – against progressing into persistent negative outcomes, such as aggressive antisocial behaviors.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Character, Child aggressive antisocial behavior, Conduct disorder, Mental health, Neurodevelopment, Personality, Self-directedness
in
Comprehensive Psychiatry
volume
76
pages
129 - 137
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:85019228096
  • wos:000403381100015
ISSN
0010-440X
DOI
10.1016/j.comppsych.2017.04.007
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
d9564c5d-96fa-4200-8f2f-fb12fafe2e9d
date added to LUP
2017-06-07 15:26:14
date last changed
2017-09-18 11:39:04
@article{d9564c5d-96fa-4200-8f2f-fb12fafe2e9d,
  abstract     = {<p>Background Childhood aggressive antisocial behavior (CD) is one of the strongest predictors of mental health problems and criminal behavior in adulthood. The aims of this study were to describe personality profiles in children with CD, and to determine the strength of association between defined neurodevelopmental symptoms, dimensions of character maturity and CD. Methods A sample of 1886 children with a close to equal distribution of age (9 or 12) and gender, enriched for neurodevelopmental and psychiatric problems were selected from the nationwide Child and Adolescent Twin Study in Sweden. Their parents rated them according to the Junior Temperament and Character Inventory following a telephone interview during which information about the children's development and mental health was assessed with the Autism-Tics, AD/HD and other Comorbidities inventory. Result Scores on the CD module significantly and positively correlated with scores on the Novelty Seeking temperament dimension and negatively with scores on character maturity (Self-Directedness and Cooperativeness). In the group of children with either neurodevelopmental or behavioral problems, the prevalence of low or very low character maturity was 50%, while when these two problems coexisted the prevalence of low or very low character maturity increased to 70%. Neurodevelopmental problems (such as: oppositional defiant disorder, symptoms of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder) and low scores on character maturity emerged as independently significant predictors of CD; in a multivariable model, only oppositional defiant symptoms and impulsivity significantly increased the risk for coexisting CD while a mature self-agency in a child (Self-Directedness) remained a significant protective factor. Conclusion These results suggest that children's willpower, the capacity to achieve personally chosen goals may be an important protective factor – even in the presence of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric problems – against progressing into persistent negative outcomes, such as aggressive antisocial behaviors.</p>},
  author       = {Kerekes, Nóra and Falk, Örjan and Brändström, Sven and Anckarsäter, Henrik and Råstam, Maria and Hofvander, Björn},
  issn         = {0010-440X},
  keyword      = {Character,Child aggressive antisocial behavior,Conduct disorder,Mental health,Neurodevelopment,Personality,Self-directedness},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {07},
  pages        = {129--137},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Comprehensive Psychiatry},
  title        = {The protective effect of character maturity in child aggressive antisocial behavior},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.comppsych.2017.04.007},
  volume       = {76},
  year         = {2017},
}