Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Dace Svikis


The purpose of this study was to examine the heritability, stability, and outcomes of antisocial behavior from adolescence into adulthood in a longitudinal twin sample. Specifically, the genetic and environmental influences on conduct disorder, adult antisocial behavior, and alcohol dependence were examined. The influence of genes and environment on the relationship between these disorders was also examined. The study utilized a subset of FinnTwin12, a population-based twin study that consists of five consecutive birth cohorts. The subsample consisted of 1035 twin pairs (N = 2070) and of that 2070, 1854 completed the intensive interview at age 14. At age 22, 1345 twins completed the interview. Participants in the study completed age-appropriate variations of the Semi-Structured Assessment for the Genetics of Alcoholism (SSAGA). Analyses were run separately by gender. Results provide support for the significant influence of genetic factors on the development and persistence of antisocial behavior. For both males and females, model fitting indicated that genetic influences are the most influential contributor to the association between conduct disorder and adult antisocial behavior and its stability across time. Additionally, there were no age specific genetic effects suggesting that the genes influencing conduct disorder are the same as those influencing adult antisocial behavior. Results for the relationship between conduct disorder and alcohol dependence differed by gender. For females, insufficient power made it difficult for the model to discriminate between the effects of genetics and shared environment, but the full model suggested that shared environmental influences explained the greatest proportion of variance in the relationship. For males, genetic influences were primarily responsible for the relationship between conduct disorder and alcohol dependence. Similar results were found for males when the relationship between alcohol dependence and adult antisocial behavior was explored. For females, genetic and nonshared environmental influences were the primary source of covariation between these two disorders. The data suggest that the etiology of conduct disorder, adult antisocial behavior, and alcohol dependence vary by gender.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2013