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Delinquent boys at increased risk of premature death and disability by middle age
Date:12/7/2009

Men who have a history of delinquency in childhood are more likely to die or become disabled by the time they are 48, and not just from the obvious consequences of antisocial behaviour, new research indicates.

The UK study, published in the December issue of the Journal of Public Health, is the first to examine how a wide range of early antisocial behaviours, as well as parental factors, affect various health outcomes 40 years later.

The study found that among boys who engaged at age 10 in antisocial behaviour such as regularly skipping school or being rated troublesome or dishonest by teachers and parents, and who then went on to be convicted of a crime by the age of 18, 16.3% (1 in 6) had died or become disabled by the age of 48. That compared with 2.6% (1 in 40) of the boys from the same lower socioeconomic South London neighbourhood who were not delinquent or offenders - an almost seven-fold difference.

"We were surprised to see such a strong link between these early influences and premature death and this indicates that things that happen in families at age 8-10 are part of a progression towards dying prematurely," said the study's leader, Professor Jonathan Shepherd, Director of the Violence and Society Research Group at Cardiff University in Wales. "It was also surprising that the increase was not limited to substance abuse or other mental health problems known to be linked with an antisocial lifestyle, but included premature death and disability from a wide variety of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease and cancer."

"At this point, we don't know exactly why delinquency increases the risk of premature death and disability in middle age, but it seems that impulsivity - or lack of self-control - in childhood and adolescence was a common underlying theme. It may be that the stresses and strains of an antisocial lifestyle and having to deal with all the crises that could have be
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Contact: Emma Ross
rosswrite@mac.com
44-759-056-3314
Oxford University Press
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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