Classifying and Defining Heterogeneity within Antisocial Behaviour


Antisocial behaviour is often classified into physically aggressive and non-aggressive behaviour with respect to the aetiology, correlates and development trajectories (e.g. Burt, 2012; Maughan et. al., 2000). However, every research uses different terminologies for certain types of antisocial behaviour. For instance, one research (Fassnacht, 2010) uses relational versus instrumental whereas another one (e.g. Pardini & Byrd, 2012) uses physical versus non-physical subtypes of antisocial behaviour. Nevertheless, physical and relational subtypes might be referring to the same underlying concept. Therefore, reviewing literature not only becomes difficult for the researchers, but it becomes impossible to pinpoint the specific concept, which is being explored. Hence, the current review dismantles various terminologies, which are used to represent the two main types of antisocial behaviours i.e. aggressive versus non-aggressive. The purpose of the current article is to make the literature review easier for the novice researchers by providing a conceptual framework. Moreover, this review makes the reader reconsider the definition of antisocial behaviours in terms of phenotypic versus covert manifestations. The two broad categories of antisocial behaviours have been delineated with respect to personality correlates, aetiologies and developmental trajectories. Furthermore, this article suggests a need for an elaborate and a well specified classification of antisocial behaviours with the help of examples. Additionally, it mentions the significance of renaming the terms used to distinguish antisocial behaviours from the non-antisocial or pro-social behaviours. Future research might standardise this classification and use it as a frame of reference. Thus the findings might become more meaningful, applicable and generalisable.

Author Information
Saima Eman, University of Sheffield, UK
Roderick I. Nicolson, University of Sheffield, UK
Mark Blades, University of Sheffield, UK

Paper Information
Conference: ECP2015
Stream: General Psychology

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