Longitudinal follow-up of adolescents with late-onset antisocial behavior: A pathological yet overlooked group

Naomi R. Marmorstein, William G. Iacono

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Objective: Antisocial behavior that begins in mid- to late adolescence does not fit into commonly accepted taxonomies of antisocial behavior, yet it clearly exists. This study examined how this course of antisocial behavior compares with persisting (beginning by early adolescence and continuing through late adolescence) and desisting (stopping by mid-adolescence) antisocial behavior in terms of risk for later substance dependence and background risk factors (gender, IQ, socioeconomic status, parental antisocial behavior, and parental divorce). Method: A population-based sample of twins from the Minnesota Twin Family Study, evaluated at ages 17 and 20, was used. Results: The results indicated that youths with late onsets were similar to those with persisting antisocial behavior and that both groups were at higher risk of later nicotine, alcohol, and cannabis dependence than controls; both also had similarly high levels of background risk factors. The late-onset group included a significant overrepresentation of females, whereas the persisting and desisting groups included more males. Conclusions: Late-onset antisocial behavior has many of the same negative correlates of persisting antisocial behavior but includes significantly more females. Although they are excluded from the diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder, these youths have clinically significant problems similar to those with this diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1284-1291
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grants AA09367 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and both DA05147 and DA016892 from the National Institute of Drug Abuse . The authors thank Matt McGue for his work on the Minnesota Twin Family Study and, specifically, his compilation of some of the data used in this study.


  • Alcohol dependence
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Conduct disorder
  • Drug dependence


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