Early onset problem behavior, young adult psychopathology, and contextual risk

Margaret A. Keyes, William G. Iacono, Matt McGue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

A prospective study of 692 male twins was undertaken to investigate the relationships among early adolescent problem behavior, contextual risk, and disinhibitory psychopathology. Early adolescent problem behavior was assessed by the number of the following behaviors engaged in by the time of the age-14 assessment: (1) tobacco use, (2) alcohol use, (3) marijuana use, (4) other illicit drug use, (5) sexual intercourse, and (6) police contact. Contextual risk was assessed as a composite of measures of peer models, parent-offspring conflict, and academic engagement from the age-14 assessment. Disinhibitory psychopathology was assessed by symptoms of nicotine dependence, alcohol dependence, drug dependence, and adult antisocial behavior at the age-18 assessment. Early adolescent problem behavior and contextual risk were strongly correlated (r = .53) and both were strongly and independently associated with symptoms of disinhibitory psychopathology (r from .35 to .60). The association of early adolescent problem behavior with both contextual risk and disinhibitory psychopathology was mediated entirely by genetic factors while the association between contextual risk and disinhibitory psychopathology was mediated by both genetic and nonshared environmental factors. The results are discussed in the context of emerging research on the prognostic significance of early adolescent problem behavior for risk of adult psychopathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-53
Number of pages9
JournalTwin Research and Human Genetics
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2007

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