Constellations of family risk for long-term adolescent antisocial behavior

J Fam Psychol. 2020 Aug;34(5):587-597. doi: 10.1037/fam0000640. Epub 2020 Feb 13.


Adolescent antisocial behavior (ASB) can have long-term individual and societal consequences. Much of the research on the development of ASB considers risk and protective factors in isolation or as cumulative indices, likely overlooking the co-occurring and interacting nature of these factors. Guided by theories of ASB risk (i.e., coercive family process, disengagement), this study uses latent profile analysis to evaluate whether there are subgroups of families in the population that conform to specific constellations of risk factors prescribed by established theories of risk for ASB, and whether subgroup membership confers differential risk for different ASBs. We leveraged a large sample of adolescents in Fall, Grade 6 (N = 5,300; Mage = 11.8; 50.9% female) for subgroup analysis, and predicted aggression, antisocial peer behavior, and substance use in Spring, Grade 8. Four family profiles were identified: Coercive (15%), characterized by high family conflict, low positive family climate, low parental involvement, low effective discipline, low adolescent positive engagement, and low parental knowledge; Disengaged (41%), characterized by low positive family climate, low parental involvement, low adolescent positive engagement, and low parental knowledge; Permissive (11%), characterized by high parental involvement, low effective discipline, high adolescent positive engagement, high parental knowledge, and high family conflict; and High Functioning (34% prevalence). In turn, group membership predicted long-term outcomes. Adolescents in Coercive families were at highest risk for ASB during Grade 8, followed by those in Disengaged and Permissive profiles; all three of which were at greater risk than adolescents in High Functioning families for every outcome. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior* / psychology
  • Child
  • Coercion
  • Conduct Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Family* / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Parenting / psychology
  • Problem Behavior* / psychology
  • Risk Factors