J Abnorm Psychol 2009 Nov;118(4):711-21
Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.
It is necessary to determine if causal influences on developing antisocial behavior change with age to guide both research and theory on its origins. The extent to which the same genetic factors influence antisocial behavior across 4-17 years of age was estimated using 2,482 sibling pairs of varying genetic relatedness. Assessments of antisocial behavior by mothers (4-9 years), mothers and youth (10-13 years), and youth (14-17 years) reflected the changing validity of informants across development. Genetic influences on antisocial behavior at 14-17 years were entirely shared with those on antisocial behavior at 10-13 years according to both informants. Genetic influences on antisocial behavior at 14-17 years were distinct from those at 4-9 years, however. These age differences in genetic influences cannot be fully distinguished from informant differences across age, but the present findings indicate that youth reported to be persistently antisocial during childhood and adolescence are influenced by one set of genetic factors influencing parent-report conduct problems in childhood and a second set of genetic influences on youth-reported delinquency that come into play around the time of the pubertal transition.