The relationship of impulsivity-inattention and verbal ability to overt and covert antisocial behaviors in children

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McEachern, Amber D.
Snyder, James J.

McEachern, Amber D., and Snyder, James J. 2012. The Relationship of Impulsivity-Inattention and Verbal Ability to Overt and Covert Antisocial Behaviors in Children. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, v.41 no.8 pp.984-994


Research has linked many risk factors in childhood and early adolescence to antisocial behaviors in later adolescence and early adulthood; however, less attention has focused on the interaction among factors in the prediction of distinct forms of antisocial behaviors. This study investigated the additive and synergistic association of inattention-impulsivity and verbal ability with overt and covert antisocial behaviors using a high risk community sample of 270 (49.8% female) children. Multiple regression analyses indicated kindergarten inattention-impulsivity was significantly related to overt and covert antisocial behaviors and the interaction of inattention-impulsivity and verbal ability significantly predicted covert but not overt antisocial behaviors during kindergarten and first grade. Kindergarten verbal ability did not buffer the association of impulsivity-inattention with covert antisocial behavior; rather higher verbal ability was associated with increased risk for ! covert antisocial behavior in the presence of high levels of impulsivity-inattention. The association of inattention-impulsivity with higher levels of overt and covert antisocial behavior begins during childhood, and may set off developmental trajectories associated with the acceleration of antisocial behavior in adolescence.

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