Personality and gender: what do they tell us about adolescent antisocial behaviour?

Alice Murteira Morgado, Maria da Luz Vale Dias


Personality refers to a set of relatively stable traits that determine a characteristic style of interaction between the individual and the environment. Nevertheless, during adolescence and early adulthood there may be some changes in personality associated with psychosocial development, influencing the involvement of individuals in different social interactions. The role of personality traits on antisocial behaviours is well acknowledged as well as the existence of important differences between boys and girls in what concerns the frequency and severity of antisocial manifestations. The presented research was conducted in order to provide a more complete understanding of gender differences on adolescent antisocial behaviour and to verify what personality characteristics may facilitate antisocial tendencies in boys and girls during this developmental stage. For that purpose, we gathered a sample of 489 students between the 5th and the 12th grades, attending schools in the region of Coimbra. They filled collectively, in classroom, the Portuguese versions of the Youth SelfReport’s “antisocial” factor (Achenbach, 1991; Fonseca et al., 1999) and the Eysenck’s Personality Questionnaire for Children (Fonseca, & Eysenck, 1989), while their parents were asked to fill the Portuguese version of Child Behaviour Checklist’s “opposition/immaturity” and “aggressive behaviour” factors (Achenbach, 1991; Fonseca et al., 1994). Our results confirm the existence of significant differences between boys and girls in personality and antisocial tendencies, and show differences in personality between individuals with lower and higher antisocial tendencies. The role of psychoticism on antisocial behaviour was also evident, indicating a possible mediating effect of impulsivity on the relation between gender and antisocial behaviour in adolescence.


Palabras clave

Personality; gender; differences; antisocial; behaviour

Texto completo:

PDF (English)


Baumann, A. A., & Odum, A. L. (2012). Impulsivity, risk taking, and timing. Behavioural Processes, 90(3), 408-414. doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2012.04.005

Bennett, S., Farrington, D. P., & Huesmann, L. R. (2005). Explaining gender differences in crime and violence: The importance of social cognitive skills. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 10, 263-288. doi: 10.1016/j.avb.2004.07.001

Berkout, O. V., Young, J. N., & Gross, A. M. (2011). Mean girls and bad boys: Recent research on gender differences in conduct disorder. Aggresion and Violent Behavior, 16, 503-511. doi:10.1016/j.avb.2011.06.001

Blonigen, D. M. (2010). Explaining the relationship between age and crime: Contributions from the developmental literature on personality. Clinical Psychology Review, 30, 89-100. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2009.10.001

Blonigen, D. M., Littlefield, A. K, Hicks, B. M., & Sher, K. J. (2010). Course of antisocial behavior during emerging adulthood: Developmental differences in personality. Journal of Research in Personality, 44, 729-733. doi: 10.1016/j.jrp.2010.08.008

Cale, E. M. (2006). A quantitative review of the relations between the “Big 3” higher order personality dimensions and antisocial behavior. Journal of Research in Personality, 40, 250-284. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2005.01.001

Carrasco, M., Barker, E. D., Tremblay, R. E., & Vitaro, F. (2006). Eysenck’s personality dimensions as predictors of male adolescent trajectories of physiscal aggression, theft and vandalism. Personality and Individual Differences, 41, 1309-1320. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2006.05.005

Caspi, A. (2000). The child is the father of the man: Personality continuities from childhood to adulthood. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78(1), 158-172. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.78.1.158

Center, D. B., & Kemp, D. E. (2002). Anti-social behaviour in children and Eysenck’s theory of personality: An evaluation. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 49(4), 353-366. doi: 10.1080/1034912022000028330

Colder, C. R. et al. (2011). Revised reinforcement sensitivity theory and laboratory assessment of BIS and BAS in children. Journal of Research in Personality, 45, 198-207. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2011.01.005

DeLisi, M., & Vaughn, M. G. (2008). The Gottfredson-Hirschi critiques revisited: Reconciling selfcontrol theory, criminal careers, and career criminals. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 52, 520-537. doi: 10.1177/0306624X07308553

Dodge, K. A., Coie, J. D., & Lynam, D. (2008). Aggression and antisocial behavior in youth. In W. Damon, & R. M. Lerner, Child and adolescent development: An advanced course (pp.437-472). Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.

Eysenck, H. J., & Eysenck, M. W. (1985). Personality and individual differences: A natural science approach. New York : Plenum Press.

Farrington, D. P. (2004). O estudo do desenvolvimento da delinquência de Cambridge: Principais resultados dos primeiros 40 anos. In A. C. Fonseca (Ed.), Comportamento anti social e crime: Da infância à idade adulta (pp. 73-132). Coimbra: Almedina.

Fergusson, D. M., & Horwood, L. J. (2002). Male and female offending trajectories. Development and Psychopathology, 14, 159-177.

Fonseca, A. C., & Simões, A. (2002). A teoria geral do crime de Gottfredson e Hirschi: O papel do autocontrolo, da família e das oportunidades. In A. C. Fonseca (Ed.), Comportamento anti-social e família: Uma abordagem científica (pp. 245-267). Coimbra: Almedina.

Lahey, B. B., et al. (2006). Testing descriptive hypotheses regarding sex differences in the development of conduct problems and delinquency. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 34, 737-755. doi: 10.1007/s10802-006-9064-5

Lima, M. P. (Ed.) (1997). NEO-PI-R: Contextos teóricos e psicométricos. «OCEAN» ou «iceberg»? Dissertação de Doutoramento, Faculdade de Psicologia e de Ciências da Educação da Universidade de Coimbra, Coimbra.

Luna, A. B. (2010). A maturação do controlo cognitivo e o cérebro adolescente. In A. C. Fonseca (Ed.), Crianças e adolescentes: Uma abordagem multidisciplinar (pp. 331-369). Coimbra: Almedina

McEachern, A. D., & Snyder, J. (2012). The relationship of impulsivity-inattention and verbal ability to overt and covert antisocial behaviors in children. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 41(8), 984-994. doi: 10.1007/s10964-011-9710-2

Moffitt, T. E. (2006). A review of research on the taxonomy of life-course persistent versus adolescence-limited antisocial behavior. In F. T. Cullen, J. P. Wright, & K. R. Blevins, Taking stock: the status of criminological theory. (pp. 277-311). New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers.

Moffitt, T. E., & Caspi, A. (2001). Childhood predictors differentiate life-course persistent and adolescence-limited antisocial pathways among males and females. Development and Psychopathology, 13, 355-375.

Robins, R. W., Caspi, A., & Moffitt, T. E. (2002). It’s not just who you’re with, it’s who you are: Personality and relationship experiences across multiple relationships. Journal of Personality, 70(6), 925-964. doi: 10.1111/1467-6494.05028

Romer, D., Duckworth, A., Sznitman, S., & Park, S. (2010). Can adolescents learn self-control? Delay of gratification in the development of control over risk taking. Prevention Science, 11, 319-330. doi: 10.1007/s11121-010-0171-8

Romer, D., et al. (2009). Executive cognitive functions and impulsivity as correlates of risk taking and problem behavior in preadolescents. Neuropsychologia, 47, 2916-2926. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2009.06.019

Romero, E. Luengo, M. A., & Sobral, J. (2001). Personality and antisocial behaviour study of temperamental dimensions. Personality and Individual Differences, 31, 329-348. doi: 10.1016/S0191-8869(00)00139-2

Shiner, R. L., & Caspi, A. (2008). Personality development. In W. Damon, & R. M. Lerner, Child and adolescent development: An advanced course (pp. 181-215). Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.

Steinberg, L. et al. (2009). Age differences in future orientation and delay discounting. Child Development, 80(1), 28-44. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2008.01244.x

Tremblay, R. E. (2010). Developmental origins of disruptive behaviour problems: The ‘original sin’hypothesis, epigenetics and their consequences for prevention. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51(4), 341-367. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2010.02211.x

DOI: Statistics: Resumen : 777 views. PDF (English) : 259 views.  

Enlaces refback

  • No hay ningún enlace refback.

Copyright (c) 2014 Alice Murteira Morgado, Maria da Luz Vale Dias

Licencia de Creative Commons
Este obra está bajo una licencia de Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-SinObraDerivada 4.0 Internacional.

"International Journal of Developmental and Educational Psychology."

Revista Infad de Psicología.

ISSN digital: 2603-5987

ISSN impreso: 0214-9877