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Personality disorder traits and antisocial behaviour in adolescents Larstone, Roseann Marie


In an effort to further understand the contribution of maladaptive personality characteristics to the expression of distinct forms of antisocial behaviour during adolescence, this study examined links between personality disorder traits, physical and social aggression, and nonaggressive antisocial behaviour over one year. A community sample of adolescents (n=182) completed self-reports of physical and social aggression and nonaggressive antisocial behaviour during the summer between the 10th and 11th grades. Participants’ parents (n=192) completed a measure assessing the adolescents’ personality disorder traits when the youths were 15 years of age in 2009, and their teachers (n=154) completed measures of the frequency of adolescents’ perpetration of physical and social aggression during the following academic year. Analyses, conducted separately for boys and girls, explored the links between broad personality disorder factors and facet-level traits as predictors of teacher- and self-rated physical and social aggression, and nonaggressive antisocial behaviour. Results of a series of multiple regression analyses revealed that disagreeableness emerged as a strong predictor of teacher-rated social aggression, self-rated physical aggression and nonaggressive antisocial behaviour in girls but not boys. Broad personality disorder traits did not predict self-rated social aggression. Findings from the facet level revealed that, in contrast with previous research, associations were not found between aspects of disagreeableness, emotional instability, compulsivity and nonaggressive antisocial behaviour in boys. Further, facets within the introversion factor strongly predicted self-rated physical and teacher-rated social aggression for girls only. Findings highlight the importance of examining both higher- and lower-order maladaptive personality traits and considering gender differences in trait expression, in understanding the perpetration of distinct forms of adolescent antisocial behaviour.

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