Childhood risk factors for personality disorder symptoms related to violence

Kim Reising, David P. Farrington, Maria M. Ttofi, Alex R. Piquero, Jeremy W. Coid

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objectives: This study investigated the relations between childhood risk factors, adult personality disorder symptoms, and violence convictions up to age 61. Method: Data was used from the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development, a prospective longitudinal study of 411 males from South London who were regularly interviewed between ages 8 and 48. In this sample, childhood risk factors were assessed, along with DSM-IV Axis-II personality disorders, and violence convictions. Results: Findings confirm and extend previous results indicating associations between several different personality disorder symptoms and violence. Particularly, symptoms of cluster A and cluster B personality disorders at age 48 were most strongly associated with lifetime violent acts. Results also support the hypothesis that adult personality disorder symptoms are predicted by exposure to childhood traumatic experiences, including family breakdown, parental neglect, and physical as well as emotional abuse. Conclusion: Families and schools seem to be particularly crucial environments which may influence the development of personality disorders and behavioral problems such as violence. More prospective longitudinal studies are needed to further disentangle the complex interactions between psychosocial family factors, personality disorders and violent behavior and to further explore their underlying mechanisms in order to inform more effective intervention programs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101315
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
Issue numberNovember - December 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Childhood risk factors
  • Personality disorder symptoms
  • Violence convictions

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