Project leader


Funding source

Forte - Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2016
End date: 31/12/2018


My aim is to study precursors and predictors of adult antisocial behaviour. Focusing on pathways to adult antisocial behaviour is important because evidence suggests that childhood is critical for many adult outcomes. Longitudinal studies measuring antisocial behaviour as it begins in early childhood and persists throughout adulthood are rare. I plan to research the development of antisocial behaviour under the mentorship of the directors of two longitudinal birth cohort studies, Dr. Terrie Moffitt and Dr. Avshalom Caspi. Participants from a 1972 New Zealand birth cohort and a 1994 United Kingdom birth cohort have been regularly assessed from their birth to the present. 
The studies examine antisocial behaviour, mental health, and physical health extensively. I plan to undertake original analyses that utilize new and unused data on adult antisocial behaviour. Moffitt’s dual taxonomy of antisocial behaviour will provide a framework for my postdoc project as I examine critical issues unanticipated by the theory. The dual taxonomy argues that there are two types of antisocial individuals: one exhibits normative antisocial behaviour for a brief period during adolescence, the other persists in antisocial behaviour from childhood to adulthood. One issue lies in the difficulty of early identification, and subsequent recommendation for treatment interventions, of the people likely to persist in antisocial behaviour. 
The first study aims to determine the utility of family history screen for substance abuse and offending in identifying children likely to persist in antisocial behaviour. Another issue is effect that parents may have on antisocial behaviour. The second study aims to understand how parental attachment and care impact the child’s patterns of antisocial behaviour through young adulthood. The final study weighs the dual taxonomy against competing theories in explaining adult crime debuts. Adult crime debuts seemed unlikely according to Moffitt’s theory.