Minor Physical Anomalies and Family Adversity as Risk Factors for Violent Delinquency in Adolescence

Minor Physical Anomalies and Family Adversity as Risk Factors for Violent Delinquency in Adolescence

Minor Physical Anomalies and Family Adversity as Risk Factors for Violent Delinquency in Adolescence

Minor Physical Anomalies and Family Adversity as Risk Factors for Violent Delinquency in Adolescences

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Référence bibliographique [6436]

American Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 157, no 6, p. 917-923.

Fiche synthèse

1. Objectifs


Intentions :
« The first aim of the study reported here was to test the hypothesis that the cumulative incidence of minor physical anomalies, family adversity during preschool years as an index of family disadvantage, and their interaction predict violent delinquency at the end of adolescence in a study group of inner-city boys. The second aim was to identify the specific anomalies involved in violence delinquency. The third aim was to test the hypothesis that those predictions are specific to violent delinquency as opposed to nonviolent delinquency. » (p. 918)

2. Méthode


Échantillon/Matériau :
« Participants were involved in an ongoing longitudinal study of boys from lower socioeconomic status areas in Montreal. [...] Only white, French-speaking boys whose mother and father were born in Canada were included in the sample (N=1037) in order to have a culturally homogenous group. Data on minor physical anomalies were collected during a laboratory visit of a study group of 177 boys when they were 14 years of age. » (p. 918)

Instruments :
- Assessment of Minor Physical Anomalies;
- Index of Family Adversity;
- Measurement of Delinquent Behavior.

Type de traitement des données :
Analyse statistique

3. Résumé


« OBJECTIVE : Minor physical anomalies are considered indicators of disruption in fetal development. They have been found to predict behavioral problems and psychiatric disorders. This study examined the extent to which minor physical anomalies, family adversity, and their interaction predict violent and non violent delinquency in adolescence. METHOD : Minor physical anomalies were assessed in a group of 170 adolescent boys from low socioeconomic status neighborhoods of Montreal. The boys had been enrolled in a longitudinal study since their kindergarten year, when an assessment of family adversity had been made on the basis of familial status and the parents’ occupational prestige, age at the birth of the first child, and educational level. Adolescent delinquency was measured by using self-reported questionnaires and a search of official crime records. RESULTS : Results from logistic regression analyses indicated that both the total count of minor physical anomalies and the total count of minor physical anomalies of the mouth were significantly associated with an increased risk of violent delinquency in adolescence, beyond the effects of childhood physical aggression and family adversity. Similar findings were not found for nonviolent delinquency. CONCLUSIONS : Children with a higher count of minor physical anomalies, and especially a higher count of anomalies of the mouth, could be more difficult to socialize for different and additive reasons : they may have neurological deficits, and they may have feeding problems in the first months after birth. Longitudinal studies of infants with minor physical anomalies of the mouth are needed to understand the process by which they fail to learn to inhibit physical aggression. » (p. 917)