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September 25, 2013


Adolescent Antisocial Behavior (ASB)

by Angel Pumila

Adolescent Antisocial Behavior (ASB)

“Antisocial behavior (ASB) includes criminal behavior, but also has been defined as any behavior that is socially unacceptable or ignores the rights of others” (Czech, 2010, p. 149).  The root of this type of behavioral pattern can stem from a complex set of interactions within social information processing (SIP) theory known as response evaluation and decision (RED) (Fontaine, 2009, p. 117).  To elaborate on this position, adolescents cognitively evaluate their response choices in social settings based upon environmental cues and contexts. Current models show that antisocial behaviors have either been reinforced, expected, substance induced, or schematically represented (Fontaine, 2009, p. 120-122).  For example, when a teen is hostile towards his/her peers, he/she will be met with hostility and expected to be hostile in future encounters.  This reinforces the pattern described by RED and can lead to an array of antisocial behaviors over time.  In order to offset this path in the adolescent population, interventions must be directed towards the decision making process and surrounding environment.

Psychological theories reinforce this approach.  Behaviorism finds that behaviors are more likely to be repeated when reinforced.  Social-cognitive learning describes an interaction between decision cognition and the surrounding environment as the force behind behavioral patterns (Santrock, 2008, p. 47).  Lastly, ecological theory elaborates on a changing environment that brings forth behavioral adaptations (Santrock, 2008, p 49).  All three approaches reinforce not only the origin of adolescent behavioral problems, but of most behavioral patterns produced during this developmental period.


Czech, S., & Kemp, R. I. (2010). Development of ASB 1: The development of antisocial behaviour in adolescents and young adults. Australian Journal Of Psychology, 62(3), 149-159. doi:10.1080/00049530903334471

Fontaine, R., & Dodge, K. A. (2009). Social information processing and aggressive behavior: A transactional perspective. In A. Sameroff (Ed.) , The transactional model of development: How children and contexts shape each other (pp. 117-135). Washington, DC US: American Psychological Association. doi:10.1037/11877-007

Santrock, J. W. (2008). Introduction. In Adolescence, (12th ed. pp. 5–51). Boston: McGraw Hill.


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