Understanding desisting and persisting forms of delinquency: The unique contributions of disruptive behavior disorders and interpersonal callousness

Amy L. Byrd, Rolf Loeber, Dustin A. Pardini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

67 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: While associations between conduct disorder (CD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and interpersonal callousness (IC) symptoms and delinquency onset are well established, less is known about whether these characteristics differentiate desisting and persisting delinquency. The current study examined whether childhood and adolescent CD, ODD, ADHD, and IC symptoms uniquely distinguished boys who exhibited persisting versus desisting delinquency from adolescence into adulthood. Methods: Participants were 503 boys (57% African American) repeatedly assessed from ages 7 to 25. Associations between childhood and adolescent CD, ODD, ADHD, and IC symptoms and desisting and persisting delinquency were examined independently and after controlling for their co-occurrence and multiple covariates. Results: Conduct disorder and IC symptoms in childhood and adolescence were higher among boys whose delinquency persisted into adulthood relative to those boys whose delinquency desisted across time. After controlling for the overlap between symptoms of ADHD, ODD, CD and IC, only adolescent CD and IC symptoms emerged as unique predictors of the differentiation between persisters and desisters. Moreover, adolescent CD and IC symptoms continued to contribute unique variance even after childhood levels of these characteristics were accounted for. Conclusions: Boys with elevated levels of CD and IC symptoms in childhood and adolescence are at risk for exhibiting a pattern of delinquency that persists from adolescence into adulthood. Intervention efforts designed to prevent chronic delinquency should target youth with co-occurring CD and IC symptoms in childhood and adolescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-380
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines
Volume53
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Delinquency persistence
  • conduct disorder
  • interpersonal callousness
  • longitudinal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Understanding desisting and persisting forms of delinquency: The unique contributions of disruptive behavior disorders and interpersonal callousness'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this