The Institute for the study of Antisocial behaviour in Youth

I.A.Y.

Antisocial and Violent Youth
DO NOT CHOOSE to be Bad

The INSTITUTE for the study of ANTISOCIAL behaviour in YOUTH and
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

present some facts about violent youth


Why do some youth commit antisocial and violent acts? Many antisocial youth have difficult temperaments from birth. Many antisocial youth suffer from a variety of disabilities.
Many antisocial youth have serious psychiatric disorders. Many antisocial youth come from families that have experienced a great deal of difficulty and stress. How can we help?
We Can Help References Contact information


Why do some youth commit antisocial and violent acts?

People believe antisocial youth are looking for the good things in life without working for them. There is a great deal of anger towards young people who steal and commit other violent and antisocial acts. This anger arises from the public's belief that antisocial youth could be like other youngsters if they wanted to be and if they tried. Although this anger is justifiable considering the violence committed by youth in recent years, our response has to be guided by the knowledge of what is causing this behaviour and how it can be changed.

The fact is that these youth are not like other youngsters.

Home
About the I.A.Y.

Youth Update
Books

Video Library
Seminars


Search

1. Many antisocial youth have difficult temperaments from birth.to top
Babies with difficult temperament are poor sleepers, difficult to feed and hard to toilet train.1 These babies require extra patience and attention. Research has shown that children with difficult temperaments who grow up in families where there have been serious difficulties, develop emotional and behavioral problems.2
2. Many antisocial youth suffer from a variety of disabilities.
Learning disabilities, including reading disability, are common occurrences.3 Lack of recognition of disabilities can cause serious problems to a child's progress and self image.
3. Many antisocial youth have serious psychiatric disorders
The most common is attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which makes it hard for these youth to do well academically.4 Impulsiveness is one of the symptoms of ADHD which often contributes to children getting into fights and trouble with the law. ADHD runs in families and has been linked to a genetic abnormality.5

Besides the above, many antisocial youth have neurological disturbances such as psychomotor epilepsy, and symptoms of psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia and manic depressive psychosis.6to top

4. Many antisocial youth come from families that have experienced a great deal of difficulty and stress.
Children growing up in these families may experience inconsistent discipline, neglect, and physical abuse.7 There may be a history of mental illness in one or both parents. Very often the difficulties experienced by the families are further aggravated by poverty.8

None of the above risk factors by themselves cause young persons to be antisocial. What makes the youth more than likely to be antisocial is the presence of more than 2 or 3 factors. In fact, most antisocial youth have 3 or 4 risk factors present.9

Many antisocial youth are unable to meet society's expectations. This may result from their disabilities, disorders and family backgrounds. They find it difficult to control their behaviour; they are unable to perform well in school; and they have difficulties forming close and meaningful relationships.to top

It is important to recognize that without help these youth are going to cause a great deal of harm to society through their antisocial and violent behaviour.

Besides causing suffering to their families and society, they cost us millions of dollars through probation, jail, welfare and unemployment. 10

The fact is that antisocial youth
do not choose to be bad;

with help they are capable of being good. It is in our interest to help them so that, instead of causing pain and expense to society, they can positively contribute.

How can we help?to top

We Can Help

  • By helping families so that they can meet the physical, emotional and intellectual needs of their children.

  • By recognizing and treating aggressive behaviour as soon as it appears. Many violent youth were aggressive children.

  • By ensuring that antisocial youth receive proper assessments and effective treatments.

  • By abandoning the pursuit of harsh punishments. Research has shown that long sentences and harsh punishments do not prevent the recurrence of crime.11

Referencesto top

  1. Thomas, A., Chess, S., and Birch, H.G. (1969). Temperament and Behaviour Disorders in Children. New York: New York University Press.

  2. Maziade, M., Caron, C., Cote, R., Merette, C., Bernier, H., Laplante, B., Boutin, P., and Thivierge, J. (1990). Psychiatric status of adolescents who had extreme temperaments at age 7. American Journal of Psychiatry, 147(11), 1531-1536.

  3. Lewis, D.O., Shanok, S.S., Balla, D.A. and Bard, B. (1980). Psychiatric correlates of severe reading disabilities in an incarcerated delinquent population. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 19, 611-622.

  4. O'Brien, J.D., Halperin, J.M., Newcom, J.H., Sharma, V., Wolf, L. and Morganstein, A. (1992). ADDH, Conduct Disorder and cognitive functioning. Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 130), 274277.

  5. Hauser, P., Zametin, A.J., Martinez, P., Vitiello, B., Matochik, J.A., Mixson, A.J. and Weintraub, B. (1993). Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder in people with generalized resistance to thyroid hormone. The New England Journal of Medicine, 328(14), 997-1001.

  6. Lewis, D.O. (1993). Conduct disorder. In: R. Michels, A.M. Cooper, S.B. Guze, et al. (Eds.), Psychiatry (Vol. 2, Chap. 37, pp. 1-10). Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co.to top

  7. Reidy, T.J. (1977). The aggressive characteristics of abused and neglected children. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 33(4), 1140-1145.

  8. Rae-Grant, N., Thomas, B.H., Offord, D.R., and Boyle, M.H. (1989). Risk, protective factors, and the prevalence of behavioral and emotional disorders in children and adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 28(2), 262-268.

  9. Rutter, M. (1979). Invulnerability, or why some children are not damaged by stress. In: S.J. Shamsie (Ed.), New Directions in Children's Mental Health (pp. 53-76). New York: S.P. Medical and Scientific Books.

  10. Shamsie, J. (Ed.). (1990). Youth with conduct disorder: what is to be done? Toronto: Ministry of Community and Social Services.

  11. Andrews, D.A., Leschied, A.W. and Hoge, R.D. (1992). Review of the profile, classification and treatment literature with young offenders: a socialpsychological approach. Toronto: Ministry of Community and Social Services.

Prepared by Dr. Jalal Sharnsie, Director, IAY
in consultation with the IAY Multi-Agency Staff Development Committee





Samples of IAY Publications

Previews of some of our flyers are available online. You may either view a graphic sample or view/download a PDF version of the following:

  • Antisocial and Violent Youth DO NOT CHOOSE to be Bad

  • Are You Worried about Your Child's Misbehaviour?

    (100K GIF file)

Order FormPDF Order Form
VISA
, MasterCard, and cheques are accepted.
Please make all cheques payable to IAY/CAMH.

 

 

For further information, please contact:

Institute for the study of Antisocial behaviour in Youth (lAY)
Syl Apps Youth Centre
475 Iroquois Shore Road
Oakville, ON L6H 1M3
Tel.: (905) 844-4110 ext 2202;
Fax: (905) 844-2996
Email: iay@kinark.on.ca

Home | About the IAY | Publications | Seminars | Video Library | Links | Search

Affiliated with The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

        

CAMH  Sick Kids

This page was last updated on Friday, March 28, 2003 3:40 PM