Research review: A critical review of studies on the developmental trajectories of antisocial behavior in females

Nathalie Fontaine*, Rene Carbonneau, Frank Vitaro, Edward D. Barker, Richard E. Tremblay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

130 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Knowledge on the onset and the development of antisocial behavior in females is limited, because most of the research in this domain is based on males.

Methods: We critically reviewed 46 empirical studies that examined developmental trajectories of antisocial behavior in females, notably to help determine whether or not an early-onset/life-course-persistent trajectory exists in females.

Results: The review suggested that antisocial behavior in females can follow different developmental trajectories (e.g., early-onset/life-course-persistent, childhood-limited, adolescence-limited, adolescence-delayed-onset, adulthood-onset). However, many of the studies reviewed were limited by factors such as the use of global measures of antisocial behavior, the identification of the trajectories based on threshold criteria, and the small sample sizes.

Conclusions: Future studies should take into account the shortcomings highlighted in this review. Such studies are needed to improve the understanding and prevention of the development of antisocial behavior in females.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-385
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Volume50
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009

Keywords

  • PHYSICAL AGGRESSION
  • DELINQUENT-BEHAVIOR
  • ONSET CONDUCT DISORDER
  • GENDER-DIFFERENCES
  • OFFENDING TRAJECTORIES
  • EARLY IDENTIFICATION
  • FLEDGLING PSYCHOPATH
  • females
  • LIFE-COURSE-PERSISTENT
  • CHILDHOOD PREDICTORS
  • DISRUPTIVE BEHAVIORS
  • Antisocial behavior
  • developmental trajectories

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