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Measuring Children's Antisocial Behaviors

Terrie E. Moffitt, PhD
JAMA. 1996;275(5):403-404. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530290073041.
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In this issue of The Journal, Needleman and colleagues1 report that elevated bone lead is associated with young boys' attention problems, aggression, and delinquency. Certainly the tibia does not deceive about its lead burden. But can we really expect boys to confess their transgressions truthfully? Skepticism is partially allayed because the research links lead and antisocial behavior using not only boys' reports, but also their teachers' and parents' reports. Nonetheless, one might challenge the study's measures of behavior problems. What are these measures? How accurate are they? Are they applicable to children beyond the study participants? Perhaps most important, do they predict behavior later in life?

See also p 363.

What are these measures? Needleman et al selected widely respected measures of children's antisocial behavior: the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL)2 for parents and teachers and the self-reported delinquency interview for the boys.3 Parents and teachers selected items


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