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Association between behaviour at age 3 years and adult criminality

By Jim Stevenson and Robert Goodman


Background: The continuity in antisocial behaviour into adulthood from middle childhood is well established but it is not clear whether this is also true of the pre-school period.<br/>Aims: To determine whether pre-school behaviour problems increase the risk of later criminal convictions and add to risk associated with family and social circumstances.<br/>Method: The records of adult convictions were traced for a general population sample (n=828) initially assessed at age 3 years.<br/>Results: The risk of having any adult conviction was related to soiling, daytime enuresis, activity level and management difficulties, and that of having an adult violent offence to recent-onset daytime enuresis, management difficulties and temper tantrums. The only other predictors of later convictions were the child's gender and social competence at age 3 years.<br/>Conclusions: The presence of specific behaviour problems in the pre-school period places the child at increased risk of being convicted of an adult offence. Family and social circumstances at age 3 years did not predict later convictions

Topics: K1, BF, HM
Year: 2001
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Provided by: e-Prints Soton
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