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NEUROPSYCHOLOGICAL MEASURES OF EXECUTIVE FUNCTION AND ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOR: A META‐ANALYSIS*

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A meta‐analysis was performed to quantify the association between antisocial behavior (ASB) and performance on neuropsychological executive functioning (EF) measures. This meta‐analysis built on Morgan and Lilienfeld's (2000) meta‐analysis of the same topic by including recently published studies and by examining a wider range of EF measures. A total of 126 studies involving 14,786 participants were included in the analyses. Antisocial groups performed significantly worse on measures of EF compared with controls, with a grand mean effect size of d= .44. Significant variation occurred in the magnitude of effect sizes calculated across studies. The largest effect sizes were found for criminality (d= .61) and externalizing behavior disorder (d= .54) ASB groups, whereas the smallest effect sizes were found for antisocial personality disorder (d= .19) groups. Larger differences in EF performance were observed across studies involving participants from correctional settings and with comorbid attention deficit and hyperactivity problems. Overall, the results indicated that a robust association exists between ASB and poor EF that held across studies with varied methodological approaches. The methodological issues in the research literature and the implications of the meta‐analysis results are discussed, and the directions for future research are proposed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Behavioural Basis of Health Program, Griffith Health Institute and School of Applied Psychology, Griffith University 2: School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith University 3: Neuropsychology and Applied Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory and Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Publication date: 01 November 2011

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