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Detecting Antisocial Behavior in Children

Detecting Antisocial Behavior in Children

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Published by Daniel
A paper I wrote on childhood psychopaths (now antisocial behavior, DSM-IV) for my abnormal psychology class. Here are my sources: Bibliography

Lynam, Donald R. "Pursuing the psychopath: capturing the fledgling psychopath in a nomological net." Journal of Abnormal Psychology 106 (1997): 425-38. University of Kentucky. 25 Oct. 2007 .

Comer, Ronald J. “Fundamentals of Abnormal Psychology.” (2005): 394-397.New York, NY.
A paper I wrote on childhood psychopaths (now antisocial behavior, DSM-IV) for my abnormal psychology class. Here are my sources: Bibliography

Lynam, Donald R. "Pursuing the psychopath: capturing the fledgling psychopath in a nomological net." Journal of Abnormal Psychology 106 (1997): 425-38. University of Kentucky. 25 Oct. 2007 .

Comer, Ronald J. “Fundamentals of Abnormal Psychology.” (2005): 394-397.New York, NY.

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Categories:Types, School Work
Published by: Daniel on Oct 30, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The thesis of the article was to evaluate and determine what a good way of testing for psychopathic tendencies in children in hopes of being able to address and treat individuals before theybecame dangerous or otherwise in worse condition (Lynam). The research team employed threeevaluations, six different tests, and battery of validity checkers to try and isolate the exactcharacteristics that actually would flag a child being disturbed. The research was gathered from fivehundred and eight volunteers, half were considered normal and made the control group and the other group was considered at risk or at high risk of having psychiatric problems.The research was conducted in public schools over a period of many years, testing them at tenyears old and then monitoring them for four or more years to see how their tests matched up with their development. All participants were boys, and all were in the fourth grade when they stated the tests.30% Were classified as at risk and another 30% were classified as normal, and the final group wasrandomized to make a control. 42% Of the participants' families were on welfare, and 41% were fromsingle parent house holds. As a longitudinal study the tests were able to be validated fairly well incomparison to the material being tested.One of the corner stones of the study was that childhood psychopathy hasbeen treated as a special case to the criteria, however in this study the researchers used adult standardsof psychopathy as well as the original standards as a means of also testing the validity of the tests used.Six objectives were made for the study; 1) Children with at risk parents and care givers should scorehighest on the tests as well as be the most frequent and severe offenders. 2) Psychopathic childrenshould be stable in offending as well rather then non-psychopathic children. 3) Psychopathic childrenshould be impulsive. 4) Psychopathic children should correlate negatively with internalizing disordersand positively correlate with externalizing disorders. 5) Scores on tests should predict delinquencyabove known predictors. And 6) Scores on tests should predict delinquency above and beyondconceptions and subtypes of antisocial behavior. The study began with a self report from the subject,an evaluation from the primary care giver, and then an evaluation from the teacher of the child. After the initial evaluations, a short background check was performed to help classify and group the childreninto sections based on socioeconomical status, marital status of parents, grades, frequency of delinquency, and other such groups (should be noted that children were grouped in several groups tosee if correlations existed within one of the said groups). Scales used to test psychopathic tendencieswere; impulsivity, time perception, Stroop Color and Word Association Test, Trail Making Test, Delayof gratification task, card-playing task, Eysneck Impulsiveness Scale, Teacher-rated impulsivity,Observer ratings of implusivity, White et al., an IQ test, social class.A big concern of the researchers was whether or not a child from a broken home would be morelikely to show antisocial behavior, especially with nearly half of the subjects being of such homes from
both of the at risk children and not at risk children. To add in the validation to insure such concernswere addressed the self reports contained questions asked on adult antisocial tests, excluding; rape,public drunkenness, and other higher crimes and dulled down the language to help them understandthe questions. Within these self reports hierarchies of delinquencies were established ranging fromgeneral delinquencies, petty theft, and violence. Also these tests were given two or more times to studythe frequency and closeness of answers given.The results were more or less what the researchers projected their findings to be. They foundthat children from broken homes developed social problems more often. Children who were impulsivewere more likely to have psychological problems but not as high in psychopathy as they had believedthose scores would be. Those who self reported impulsiveness scored almost even (.25 and .26) againsttheir teacher evaluation, and only .11 off from were the children scored on the impulsivity scales( table 3). Also positive correlations between stability of delinquencies and psychopathic behavior wasfound as displayed by the score of .32 in general delinquency at age ten and then .39 at age thirteen(table 1). Overall delinquency showed a -.56 correlation in the stable non-delinquent, and a .88 in thestable and seriously delinquent children with displaying antisocial behavior (table 2).The researchers felt that their tests did not answer any questions of behavior for good, butinstead validated and supported studies given before this study. The biggest point of the study was tointerweave the concepts of adult psychopathy and childhood psychopathy, which they felt wasvalidated. The researchers also felt that conduct problems and antisocial behavior are notinterchangeable based upon there study. Also many of the test given found personality to be a larger factor in predicting antisocial behavior then previously thought.The book supported just about everything the study reported (Comer). It says,”Most people withantisocial personality disorder have displayed...misbehavior before they were 15, including truancy,running away, physical cruelty to animals...and setting fires”(394). It agrees that they are impulsive,and often detached from social norms (395). Also the book agrees that getting into fights and bealtogether delinquent is very normal to a sociopath (396).I feel that this was a very good study that was well planed and carried out. However, the book also states however that people with antisocial personality disorder are much more likely to lierepeatedly (395) which would undoubtedly misrepresent any actual figures. Also the study was dealingwith children from shaky family backgrounds which means that much of the delinquencies could benormal acting out for the children in question. I also felt that the research is incomplete as I would liketo see how girls would react in the same tests. The other criticism I have for the study was the fact thatit was not blinded, I feel that children especially of this age would be more likely to act in waysdifferent to their norm if they know they are being asked about their behavior. Besides that I thought

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