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Etiology of pervasive versus situational antisocial behaviors: a multi-informant longitudinal cohort study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312–325
JournalChild Development
Issue number1
Early online date12 Nov 2015
E-pub ahead of print12 Nov 2015
PublishedJan 2016


  • Wertz_et_al_Child_Development

    Wertz_et_al_Child_Development.pdf, 178 KB, application/pdf

    Uploaded date:10 Dec 2015

    Version:Final published version

    Licence:CC BY

King's Authors


The aim of this study was to disentangle pervasive from situational antisocial behaviors using multiple informants, and to investigate their genetic and environmental etiologies in preadolescence and across time. Antisocial behaviors were assessed in 2,232 twins from the Environmental-Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study at ages 5 and 12. Pervasive antisocial behaviors were defined as behaviors that mothers, teachers, interviewers, and twins themselves agreed on. Results from a psychometric model indicated that variation in children’s pervasive antisocial behaviors was mostly accounted for by familial influences that originated in childhood whereas situational behaviors were explained by newly emerging non-shared environmental and genetic influences. This study shows that children’s pervasive and situational antisocial behaviors have distinct etiologies which could guide research and treatment.

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