Antisocial behaviour and mental health. Findings from three communities

Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2002 Aug;11(4):168-75. doi: 10.1007/s00787-002-0275-1.


Aim: To investigate the relationship between antisocial behaviour and psychopathology (depression, somatization, anxiety), expectations for the future, and sensation seeking in adolescents.

Method: A cross-national self-report study assessing 955 students in Antwerp (Belgium), 1026 in Arkhangelsk (Russia) and 1391 in New Haven (US) was conducted. Adolescents were assigned antisocial group status according to the nature of their reported deviant behaviour. A non-antisocial group, a moderate antisocial group (non-aggressive behaviour) and a severe antisocial group (mainly aggressive behaviour) were identified.

Results: In both genders and in all three countries, depression, somatization, negative expectations for the future and sensation seeking gradually increased from the non-antisocial group to the moderate antisocial group, and finally to the severe antisocial group. Levels of anxiety were insignificant across most groups.

Conclusion: Although cross-national differences exist, the variables of interest showed markedly similar trends between antisocial groups across countries. The current study adds to the debate over the relationship between anxiety and antisocial behaviour.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Belgium / epidemiology
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Russia / epidemiology
  • Sex Factors
  • United States / epidemiology