, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 171-184

Linked Lives: The Intergenerational Transmission of Antisocial Behavior

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Abstract

There is a strong assumption of intergenerational continuity in behavior patterns, including antisocial behavior. Using a 3-generation, prospective study design, we examine the level of behavioral continuity between Generation 2 (G2) and Generation 3 (G3), and the role of economic disadvantage and parenting behaviors as mediating links. We estimate separate models for G2 fathers and G2 mothers. Data are drawn from the Rochester Youth Development Study, a longitudinal study begun in 1988 during G2's early adolescence (n = 1,000), which has collected prospective data on G2, their parents (G1), and now their G3 children. Results show that intergenerational continuity in antisocial behavior is evident, albeit somewhat modest. Parenting styles and financial stress do play a mediating role, although their effects vary by G2's gender. In general, adolescent delinquency plays a larger role in linking the generations for G2 fathers, whereas parenting behaviors and financial stress play a larger role for G2 mothers.