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Juvenile Delinquency Linked to Risk of Premature Death and Disability

11 years, 11 months ago

5194  0
Posted on Dec 16, 2009, 6 a.m.

Antisocial and delinquent behavior in young men correlates to increased death and disability in middle-age.

Men who have a history of delinquency in childhood are more likely to die or become disabled by the time they are 48, and not just from the obvious consequences of antisocial behavior. Jonathan Shepherd, from Cardiff University (Wales), and colleagues studied how a wide range of early antisocial behaviors, as well as parental factors, affect various health outcomes 40 years later. The team found that among boys who engaged at age 10 in antisocial behavior such as regularly skipping school or being rated troublesome or dishonest by teachers and parents, and who then went on to be convicted of a crime by the age of 18, 16.3% (1 in 6) had died or become disabled by the age of 48. That compared with 2.6% (1 in 40) of the boys from the same lower socioeconomic South London neighborhood who were not delinquent or offenders - an almost seven-fold difference.  The researchers urge that: “Death and disability by age 48 were strongly associated with antisocial behavior at ages 8–10 and 27–32, convictions and impulsivity during adolescence and parental predictors of offending at age 8–10. Preventing childhood and adolescent antisocial behaviour and offending may also prolong life and prevent disability among those who would otherwise offend.”

Jonathan P. Shepherd, Iona Shepherd, Robert G. Newcombe, David Farrington. “Impact of antisocial lifestyle on health: chronic disability and death by middle age.”  J. Public Health Med., December 2009; 31: 506 - 511.

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