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Etiology of Criminal Onset: The Enduring Salience of Nature and Nurture

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice: An International Journal Volume: 36 Issue: 3 Dated: July 2008 Pages: 217-223
Matt DeLisi; Kevin M. Beaver; John Paul Wright; Michael G. Vaughn
Date Published
July 2008
7 pages
This study empirically examined the etiology of early onset antisocial behavior using genetic measures.
The study found the net of the effects of race, age, gender, and low self-control, genetic polymorphisms explained variation in police contacts and arrest, but only among youths in low risk family environments. Moreover, youths with genetic risk factors experienced a later onset than youths without these risk factors. Borrowing from the behavioral and molecular genetics literatures, various interpretations of the findings were discussed as well as a call for increasingly interdisciplinary perspectives in criminology that encompass both sociological and biosocial frameworks. The current findings build on a burgeoning literature that has used the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) dataset to investigate antisocial behavior from interdisciplinary or biosocial perspectives. Based on data from the Add Health, the current study was the first to use measures of genetic polymorphisms (DRD2 and DRD4) to empirically examine the onset of crime. The Add Health is a large sample of American adolescents in 7th through 12th grades. The Add Health study was one of the largest longitudinal studies to include DNA markers. Altogether, 20,745 respondents and 17,700 caregivers participated in the first dataset, and 14,738 of these original respondents participated in the second round of interviews. Tables, references