Differential affective responses in those with aggressive versus non-aggressive antisocial behaviors.


Affective dysfunction has been robustly tied to antisocial behavior, but little research has evaluated whether affective responses vary differentially with its aggressive (AGG) and rule-breaking (RB) subtypes. We therefore examined whether changes in negatively valenced affect (elicited via written recollection of one’s best and worst life experiences) were linked to level (i.e., low, average, high) and type (i.e., AGG, RB) of antisocial behavior. The sample consisted of 288 undergraduate men. Results suggested a general trait-like association between negative affect and AGG. However, this association varied across experimental conditions. In particular, the potentiation of negative affect following an aversive task was consistently associated with AGG. RB, by contrast, demonstrated little to no association with negative affect in any condition. Such findings imply that the link between antisocial behavior and affective dysregulation is largely specific to its aggressive subtype, and does not persist to non-aggressive antisocial behavior.


S. Alexandra Burt
Christine L Larson