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Title: Resting autonomic nervous system activity is unrelated to antisocial behaviour dimensions in adolescents: Cross-sectional findings from a European multi-centre study
Author(s): Martin Prätzlich, Helena Oldenhof and Martin Steppan et al.
Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice
Year: 2018
State: to be published
DOI: 10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2018.01.004
File URL: /vuams-pubs/Resting ANS antisocial behavior_Pratzlich et al.2018.pdf
Keywords: Autonomic nervous system, Antisocial behaviour, Callous-unemotional traits, Smoking, Cluster analysis, Sex
Abstract: Purpose: Autonomic nervous system (ANS) functioning has long been studied in relation to antisocial behaviour, but relevant measures (heart rate, heart rate variability, pre-ejection period, respiration rate) have rarely been considered together. This study investigated the relationship between these measures and antisocial behaviour. Methods: Using a sample of 1010 youths with (47.8%) and without conduct disorder (52.2%) aged between 9 and 18 years (659 females, 351 males, mean age =14.2 years, SD =2.4), principal component analysis (PCA) was applied to various measures of psychopathology and antisocial behavior. Structural equation modelling was performed in order to test whether the ANS measures predicted PCA-dimensions. Cluster analysis was used in order to classify patterns of ANS activity. Analyses were performed separately for males/females and controlled for body-mass-index, age, caffeine use, cigarette smoking, sports, socioeconomic status, medication, cardiac problems. Results: The PCA yielded three components: antisocial behaviour/comorbid psychopathology, narcissistic traits, and callous-unemotional traits. ANS measures were only weakly correlated with these components. Cluster analysis yielded high and low arousal clusters in both sexes. When controlling for covariates, all associations disappeared.

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