A biopsychosocial model of the development of chronic conduct problems in adolescence

Dev Psychol. 2003 Mar;39(2):349-71. doi: 10.1037//0012-1649.39.2.349.


A biopsychosocial model of the development of adolescent chronic conduct problems is presented and supported through a review of empirical findings. This model posits that biological dispositions and sociocultural contexts place certain children at risk in early life but that life experiences with parents, peers. and social institutions increment and mediate this risk. A transactional developmental model is best equipped to describe the emergence of chronic antisocial behavior across time. Reciprocal influences among dispositions, contexts, and life experiences lead to recursive iterations across time that exacerbate or diminish antisocial development. Cognitive and emotional processes within the child, including the acquisition of knowledge and social-information-processing patterns, mediate the relation between life experiences and conduct problem outcomes. Implications for prevention research and public policy are noted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease
  • Conduct Disorder / psychology*
  • Culture
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parenting
  • Social Environment