Compr Psychiatry. 2001 Jul-Aug;42(4):272-82.
The adult antisocial syndrome with and without antecedent conduct disorder: comparisons from an adoption study.
Langbehn DR1, Cadoret RJ.
DSM antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) requires a retrospective diagnosis of conduct disorder-historical behavior not present in everyone with adult ASPD criteria. Using adoption study data, we examined the impact of this requirement on biological and environmental risk associations. We also compared clinical correlates of adult antisocial behavior with and without prior conduct disorder. We defined three subgroups: DSM-III ASPD (n = 30), adult antisocials without conduct disorder (n = 25), and controls (n = 142). By design, the sample had a high incidence of biological parent ASPD, which was partially confounded with fetal alcohol exposure. We compared the associations of both of these putative risk factors with subgroup membership after controlling for gender and adverse adoptive environment. We also examined differences in two sociopathy scales and the incidence of co-occurring affective, alcohol, and other substance use disorders. Finally, we explored differences in individual antisocial symptoms. Having an antisocial biological parent was a specific risk factor for ASPD. In contrast, fetal alcohol exposure, male gender, and adverse environment were associated with the adult antisocial syndrome, regardless of conduct disorder history. The two antisocial groups were similar with respect to sociopathy scales, co-occurring diagnoses, and the incidence of most individual symptoms. However, several adult and conduct disorder symptoms had significant specific associations with biological or environmental background or their interaction. Phenotypic expression of the biological-possibly genetic-risk for ASPD appears to be manifest before adulthood. The influence of other risk factors may not depend on antecedent conduct disorder. Despite this, we could not detect clinically important differences between the two sociopathic groups. The conduct disorder requirement therefore may be more relevant to etiological than clinical understanding of adult antisocial behavior.
Copyright 2001 by W.B. Saunders Company
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]