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Antisocial behaviour in young people: Identifying risk pathways

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Mandy Carter.

Antisocial behaviour committed by youngsters is an issue of rising concern. Although there is a growing consensus that both child-specific (i.e., genetic, temperamental) and social factors (e.g., early social adversity) contribute to the development and maintenance of antisocial behaviour, most research has focused on identifying specific contextual or social factors that impinge on the developing child. For example, negative life-events, family stress, and parental relationship problems have all been associated with antisocial behaviour problems in youngsters. There is, however, increasing evidence that organic factors in individual children explain or accentuate (mediate and/or moderate) the way in which they react to early social adversity. Our research focuses on the role of neurobiological factors in the development of antisocial behaviour in children. We have shown that conduct disordered (CD) children have problems in activating their stress response systems, which could explain why they experience difficulties in regulating affect and behaviour. We have also shown that under-activity or attenuated reactivity of the autonomic nervous system in infants may predispose to aggressive behaviour later in life. In this presentation I will show that emotion processing problems are involved in youth offending behaviour and aggressive conduct problems in children with ADHD . The implications of these findings for theory and practice will be pointed out, and I will argue that researching neurobiological functioning in antisocial youngsters not only indicates which individuals are most likely to persist in engaging in offending or aggressive behaviour, but can also guide the development of new interventions.

This talk is part of the Chaucer Club series.

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