An interesting article.
The Development and Outcomes of ASPD in Children
ASPD children are at high risk of committing criminal acts in adolescence and adulthood. Loeber et al. suggested that early onset of ASPD may promote chronic forms of violent behaviour in 35-75% of cases.13
The development and outcome of ASPD is influenced by neurobiological (E.g. neurotransmitter imbalance), environmental (E.g. harsh parental discipline), and social (E.g. lack of personal relationships) factors.13 18 22 The onset of ASPD in toddlers or children is often the result of a disturbed temperament and a substandard environment. An introverted or difficult child who is raised in harsh circumstances, for instance, is at risk of developing ASPD.
Interestingly, Lynam and Robins showed that antisocial children are not destined to become antisocial adolescents or antisocial adults.15 27 The maintenance of ASPD is influenced by numerous biological factors, including neurotransmitter (E.g. serotonin) and hormone (E.g. testosterone and cortisol) levels (discussed above).
ASPD in Male Offenders vs. ASPD in Female Offenders
Criminological evidence has found that antisocial and aggressive behaviour is highly prevalent in males. Indeed, prevalence of ASPD in males is 3%.2 In contrast, few females exhibit antisocial and aggressive behaviour. Consequently, prevalence of ASPD in females is 1%.2 ASPD in male offenders is often associated with “Cluster B” personality traits, including a blatant disregard for the emotions of others, an inability to experience guilt, consistent irritability, and a low tolerance for frustration.2 In contrast, ASPD in female offenders is commonly associated with “Cluster A” personality traits, including irresponsible behaviour, impulsivity, high rates of childhood abuse, and aggression.2 20
Additionally, ASPD in female offenders is often associated with high rates of unemployment, marital separation, substance abuse, depression, and suicidal behaviour.2 20 Scientific evidence has attributed gender differences in antisocial and aggressive behaviours to varying levels of gonadal hormones (namely testosterone) in male and female offenders.11 A population-based study by Hines et al. reported a positive association between concentrations of maternal testosterone (measured in blood samples of pregnant women) and antisocial and/or aggressive behaviour in 3.5 year-old female children.11 However, the neurobiological mechanism that underlies gender differences in antisocial and aggressive behaviours is poorly understood. Hence, further research is required.