A series of neurotransmitters, metabolites, and enzymes considered relevant to emotional and behavioral disorders was studied in blood samples obtained from boys admitted to a residential setting because of disruptive or unmanageable behavior in their home environments. The youth were categorized into mainly prepubertal (under 12.0 years) and pubertal/post pubertal (12.0 years and over) groups. Behavior ratings of the younger group completed by parents revealed significant inverse correlations between several behavioral factors and dopamine-beta-hydroxylase (DBH) activity levels, notably in the agressive behavior and antisocial domains. Teacher ratings completed after about 1 month of living in the residential setting also showed numerous significant, but positive, correlations between several behavior factors and DBH activity levels. Furthermore, teacher and parent ratings themselves often were significantly and inversely correlated. The findings related to DBH activity levels were strongest in the younger group of boys. The results are discussed in terms of the possibility that low DBH activity in boys reflects a vulnerability towards behavioral disorder, which in certain environments becomes manifested by conduct problems and antisocial behavior.
- behavior disorders in children
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biological Psychiatry