Distinguishing the early-onset/persistent and adolescence-onset antisocial behavior types: From birth to 16 years

Benjamin Aguilar, L. Alan Sroufe, Byron Egeland, Elizabeth Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

292 Scopus citations


Moffitt's theory regarding two types of adolescent antisocial behavior was investigated using a prospective, longitudinal study of normal and abnormal development in a primarily low socioeconomic status, ethnically diverse sample. Results supported the presence of an early-onset/persistent (EOP) group and an adolescence-onset (AO) group. Groups were most reliably and significantly distinguished by indices of socioemotional history within the first 3 years, but no significant differences were found on early measures of temperament or neuropsychological functioning. EOPs scored significantly lower than other groups on measures of neuropsychological functioning only during late childhood and adolescence, suggesting that the declines in verbal functioning that have been so reliably found in this and other samples of early-starting antisocial adolescents are progressive and consequent to adverse experience. In adolescence, AOs were significantly more likely to report high levels of internalizing symptoms and life stress, suggesting that AO antisocial behavior is not a benign phenomenon. Implications of these findings for etiologic theories of adolescent antisocial behavior are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-132
Number of pages24
JournalDevelopment and Psychopathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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