Early Aggression in Children: separating current from prior effects in a population survey

Publication type

Conference Paper


American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting


Publication date

November 15, 2000


Both control and developmental theorists stress the role of early family experiences in the genesis of childhood conduct disorders and adolescent delinquency. Evidence suggests that difficult temperaments in early childhood predict non-criminal antisocial behaviors in later childhood. In order to test for evidence of stability in antisocial dispositions and behaviors, we examined the first two waves of the Canadian National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (n=22,000). We examined several rites of passages: hazardous birth conditions, motor and social development, difficult temperament (at two ages), and antisocial behavior. In this paper we focus on the aggressiveness of children aged 48-59 months from cycle 2 based on the prior medical, developmental and temperament measures collected from the same families in cycle 1. This work attempts to establish whether the NLSCY makes it possible to identify the impact of early childhood conditions on later behavior, and particularly whether the children's previous experiences are a better predictor of their current aggressive behavior compared to their current conditions.



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