Genetic Determinants of Antisocial Behaviour

Essay by vanceandcathyUniversity, Bachelor's May 2010

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Genetic Determinants of Antisocial Behaviour

Delinquents are born, not made. This statement suggests that people who exhibit antisocial behaviours like criminal activities are born that way. That is, they have a genetic make-up that causes them to act antisocially. This paper will explore what is meant by antisocial behaviour and look at the different disorders that involve the expression of antisocial behaviours. This will be followed by a look at the research that has been carried out in the area of the genetic determinants of antisocial behaviour, namely twin studies and adoption studies. It will then look at the limitations of the research that has been carried out in regards to the participants of the studies. Finally, the paper will look at other possible causes of the development of antisocial behaviour. These are various environmental factors like parental values in upbringing, stability of home-life, the type of role models available and many more.

Antisocial behaviour is a term that describes a variety of acts and disorders. By strict definition an antisocial behaviour is a violation of social rules and/or actions that are violations against others (Kazdin, 1997). The specific behaviours referred to as antisocial include fighting, lying, stealing as well as many more. Some disorders of antisocial behaviours are conduct disorder, which is a childhood and adolescent disorder and antisocial personality disorder which occurs in adulthood. Conduct disorders refers to acts that are clinically significant and that are well in advance of what constitutes as normal behaviour (Kazdin, 1997). When looking at various behaviours and deciding whether they are clinically significant, the intensity, frequency and chronicity of the behaviours needs to be assessed. For antisocial behaviours to be classed as conduct disorder or antisocial personality disorder they need to lead to an impairment of normal functioning in everyday life and...