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Adult antisocial personality traits are associated with experiences of low parental care and maternal overprotection

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Objective: To investigate the role of parenting in the development of adult antisocial personality traits.

Method: A total of 742 community-based subjects were assessed for adult DSM-IV antisocial personality disorder traits and for measures of parental behavior experienced as children, including by the Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI).

Results: Three fundamental dimensions of parental behavior – care, behavioral restrictiveness and denial of psychological autonomy – were derived by factor analysis from the PBI. These dimensions significantly correlated with measures of parental behavior considered influential in later antisocial behavior. Adult antisocial traits in males were associated with low maternal care and high maternal behavioral restrictiveness, and in females, antisocial traits were associated with low paternal care and high maternal denial of psychological autonomy. These dimensions did not, however, explain all variance parental behavior has on adult antisocial personality traits.

Conclusion: Adult antisocial personality traits are associated with experiences of low parental care and maternal overprotection.
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Keywords: antisocial personality; maternal behavior; paternal behavior

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA

Publication date: 01 August 2002

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