Stability and Change in Patterns of Adolescent Antisocial Behavior


  • Knut Sundell Karolinska Institute
  • Jenny Eklund Stockholm University
  • Laura Ferrer-Wreder Stockholm University



Antisocial behaviors, Adolescence, Person-oriented analysis, Longitudinal, Cluster analysis


Research examining relations between various types of antisocial behavior (ASB) have generally been based on cross-sectional data. Although there is a strong correlation between types of ASB, it has been less common to examine how patterns of adolescents’ problems vary over time. This study used a person-oriented approach to examine patterns of ASB in adolescents longitudinally and also investigated how these patterns were associated with three outcomes. The sample con-sisted of 778 Swedish adolescents in grade 7 (13 years old) followed over time to grade 9. Patterns of ASB were identified based on adolescent-reported tobacco and alcohol use, truancy, bullying in school, and delinquency. The outcomes were drug use, depressive symptoms, and missing grades in grade 9. Results revealed an escalation in the frequency and seriousness of ASB over time, although the largest single cluster over time evidenced no ASB. One cluster in particular increased the risk of drug use, depression, and missing grades at grade 9. Results are discussed in relation to school-based prevention efforts.


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