Patterns and precursors of adolescent antisocial behaviour

ATP Report – December 2002

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This report on the patterns and pathways to antisocial and criminal behaviours among Australian adolescents represents the first publication from the collaborative project between the Australian Institute of Family Studies and Crime Prevention Victoria.

The setting for the project is the longitudinal community study, the Australian Temperament Project (now in its twentieth year), which is itself a collaboration between researchers from the Institute, the Royal Children’s Hospital, and the University of Melbourne.

The study involves a representative sample of more than 2400 children and families living in urban and rural areas of Victoria. With its focus on children’s psychosocial development from infancy to adolescence, the study provides a rare and valuable opportunity to explore the development of teenage antisocial behaviour in an Australian context.

The origins of many problems in adolescence and adulthood can be traced back to early childhood. This report makes a substantial contribution to our understanding of how and why antisocial behaviours develop in childhood and adolescence, and identifies opportunities for assisting vulnerable youngsters to move onto more positive pathways. In doing so, it adds to the evidence base for policy and practice regarding Australian children and their families.

I commend Patterns and Precursors of Adolescent Antisocial Behaviour and am confident it will be of interest and value to the research community, to policy makers, and to parents, teachers and professionals who work with children and families. In particular, it is hoped that the report, in addressing current policy concerns, will facilitate government and community efforts to ensure the very best outcomes for all our children and their families.

David I. Stanton
Australian Institute of Family Studies