The young adult outcomes of childhood and adolescent antisocial behaviour: an Australian cohort

Criminology Research Council grant ; (27/04-05)

Antisocial behaviour in young people and adults remains a costly and continuing problem for Australian society despite some decrease in recorded crime levels. In addition there is substantial evidence that antisocial behaviour in children and adolescents leads to a range of adverse adult outcomes from ongoing antisocial actions, poor mental health, strife laden relationship and poor employment histories. One model utilised to understand the relationship between early antisocial behaviour and its adult sequelae is a typological approach which distinguishes between groupings such as persistent, adolescent onset or childhood limited antisocial behaviour. The Mater University Study of Pregnancy is a longitudinal data set that followed up children from birth to age 21. This dataset was used to test the relationship between typologies and young adult functioning. Using the typologies described above the study found that while the persistent group had an increased risk for a range of self reported poor adult outcomes, the adolescent onset group also experienced poor adult functioning. The childhood limited group experienced few adult problems. The results suggest policy needs to be directed at programs to both prevent the development of the persistent group as well as intervene with the severe adolescent onset antisocial group.