Profiles of Antisocial Behavior in School-Based and At-Risk Adolescents in Singapore: A Latent Class Analysis

  • Rebecca P. AngEmail author
  • Xiang Li
  • Vivien S. Huan
  • Gregory Arief D. Liem
  • Trivina Kang
  • Qinyuen Wong
  • Jeanette Y. P. Yeo
Original Article


This study used latent class analysis to examine whether multiple subgroups can be identified based on rule-breaking and aggressive behavior in school-based and at-risk adolescent samples. These groups were tested for differences in behavioral, emotional, personality and interpersonal correlates. Rule breaking and aggressive behavior co-occurred across all classes. School-based adolescents were classified as having minimal, minor or moderate antisocial problems. At-risk adolescents were classified as having mild, medium or severe antisocial problems. Generally, at-risk adolescents had higher levels of antisocial behavior, and greater severity of antisocial behavior was associated with more problems in various domains. Results differed however, for the school-based and at-risk samples with respect to emotional problems, sensation-seeking and peer conformity pressure. There is a need to jointly consider both non-aggressive rule-breaking behavior and aggressive behavior in prevention and intervention work, as it is insufficient to address isolated symptoms and problems in children and adolescents.


Latent class analysis Rule-breaking behavior Aggressive behavior School-based adolescents At-risk adolescents 



This research was supported by a MSF Grant (R48204008 MSF-Dev Trajectories). These findings, interpretations, and recommendations expressed in this article are the authors’ own, and these do not reflect the official position or view of the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF)


  1. 1.
    American Psychiatric Association (2013) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. American Psychiatric Association, Washington, DCCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Achenbach TM (1995) Empirically based assessment and taxonomy: applications to clinical research. Psychol Assess 7:261–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Achenbach TM, Rescorla LA (2001) Manual for the ASEBA school-age forms and profiles. University of Vermont, BurlingtonGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Mash EJ, Barkley RA (2003) Child psychopathology, 2nd edn. Guilford Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bartholomew DJ, Knott M, Moustaki I (2011) Latent variable models and factor analysis: a unified approach. Wiley, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    McCutcheon AL (1987) Latent class analysis. Sage, Newbury ParkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Burt SA, Larson CL (2007) Differential affective responses in those with aggressive versus non-aggressive antisocial behaviors. Personal Individ Differ 43:1481–1492CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Bartels M, Hudziak JJ, Van den Oord EJCG, Van Beijsterveldt CEM, Rietveld MJH, Boomsma DI (2003) Co-occurrence of aggressive behavior and rule-breaking behavior at age 12: multi-rater analyses. Behav Genet 33:607–621CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Perrino T, Pantin H, Huang S, Brincks A, Brown CH, Prado G (2016) Reducing the risk of internalizing symptoms among high-risk Hispanic youth through a family intervention: a randomized controlled trial. Fam Process 55:91–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    de Nijs PF, van Lier PA, Verhulst FC, Ferdinand RF (2007) Classes of disruptive behavior problems in referred adolescents. Psychopathology 40:440–445CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Harty SC, Galanopoulos S, Newcorn JH, Halperin JM (2013) Delinquency, aggression, and attention-related problem behaviors differentially predict adolescent substance use in individuals diagnosed with ADHD. Am J Addict 22:543–550CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Barkley RA (1998) Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: a handbook for diagnosis and treatment, 2nd edn. Guilford Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Defoe IN, Farrington DP, Loeber R (2013) Disentangling the relationship between delinquency and hyperactivity, low achievement, depression, and low socioeconomic status: analysis of repeated longitudinal data. J Crim Justice 41:100–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Arnett JJ (1996) Sensation seeking, aggressiveness, and adolescent reckless behavior. Personal Individ Differ 20:693–702CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Zuckerman M (1979) Sensation seeking: beyond the optimal level of arousal. Lawrence Erlbaum, HillsdaleGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Chen X, Li F, Nydegger L, Gong J, Ren Y, Dinaj-Koci V et al (2013) Brief sensation seeking scale for Chinese-cultural adaptation and psychometric assessment. Personal Individ Differ 54:604–609CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Mann FD, Patterson MW, Grotzinger AD, Kretsch N, Tackett JL, Tucker-Drob EM, Harden KP (2016) Sensation seeking, peer deviance, and genetic influences on adolescent delinquency: evidence for person-environment correlation and interaction. J Abnorm Psychol 125:679–691CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Brown BB, Clasen DR, Eicher SA (1986) Perceptions of peer pressure, peer conformity dispositions, and self-reported behavior among adolescents. Dev Psychol 22:521–530CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Klahr AM, Klump KL, Burt SA (2014) The etiology of the association between child antisocial behavior and maternal negativity varies across aggressive and non-aggressive rule-breaking forms of antisocial behavior. J Abnorm Child Psychol 42:1299–1311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Trentacosta CJ, Criss MM, Shaw DS, Lacourse E, Hyde LW, Dishion TJ (2011) Antecedents and outcomes of joint trajectories of mother-son conflict and warmth during middle childhood and adolescence. Child Dev 82:1676–1690CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Yeh KH (2011) Mediating effects of negative emotions in parent-child conflict on adolescent problem behavior. Asian J Soc Psychol 14:236–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Sarracino D, Presaghi F, Degni S, Innamorati M (2011) Sex-specific relationships among attachment security, social values, and sensation seeking in early adolescence: implications for adolescents’ externalizing problem behaviour. J Adolesc 34:541–554CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Ang RP, Huan VS, Li X, Chan WT (2018) Functions of aggression and delinquency: the moderating role of parent criminality and friends’ gang membership. J Interpers Violence 33:3531–3550CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Clasen DR, Brown BB (1985) The multidimensionality of peer pressure in adolescence. J Youth Adolesc 14:451–468CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Santor DA, Messervey D, Kusumakar V (2000) Measuring peer pressure, popularity, and conformity in adolescent boys and girls: predicting school performance, sexual attitudes, and substance abuse. J Youth Adolesc 29:163–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Williams S, Dahan J, Silverman WK, Pettit JW (2013) Heterogeneous classes of co-occurring externalizing symptoms in a sample of youth referred for anxiety disorders. J Anxiety Disord 27:340–346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Pang JS, Ang RP, Kom DM, Tan SH, Chiang AQ (2013) Patterns of reactive and proactive aggression in young adolescents in Singapore. Soc Dev 22:794–812Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Wadsworth ME, Hudziak JJ, Heath AC, Achenbach TM (2001) Latent class analysis of child behavior checklist anxiety/depression in children and adolescents. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 40:106–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Thurber S, Sheehan W (2012) Note on truncated T scores in discrepancy studies with the Child Behavior Checklist and Youth Self Report. Arch Assess Psychol 2:73–80Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Elkins IJ, McGue M, Iacono WG (1997) Genetic and environmental influences on parent-son relationships: evidence for increasing genetic influence during adolescence. Dev Psychol 33:351–363CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Muthén LK, Muthén BO (2017) Mplus user’s guide, 8th edn. Muthén & Muthén, Los AngelesGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Li X, Fung ALC (2015) Reactive and proactive aggression in mainland Chinese secondary school students. J Soc Work 15:297–316CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Moffitt TE (2003) Life-course persistent and adolescence-limited antisocial behavior: a research review and a research agenda. In: Lahey B, Moffitt TE, Caspi A (eds) The causes of conduct disorder and serious juvenile delinquency. Guilford Press, New York, pp 113–125Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Chu CM, Lee Y, Zeng G, Yim G, Tan CY, Ang Y et al (2015) Assessing youth offenders in a non-Western context: the predictive validity of the YSL/CMI ratings. Psychol Assess 27:1013–1021CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Cauffman E, Lexcen FJ, Goldweber A, Shulman EP, Grisso T (2007) Gender differences in mental health symptoms among delinquent and community youth. Youth Violence Juv Justice 5:287–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Pepler D, Waddell J, Jiang D, Lamb J, Craig W, Connolly J (2006) Aggressive girl’s health and parent daughter conflict. Womens Health Urban Life 5:25–41Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Chng GS, Chu CM, Zeng G, Li D, Ting MH (2016) A latent class analysis of family characteristics linked to youth offending outcomes. J Res Crime Delinq 56:765–787CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Hoeve M, Dubas JS, Eichelsheim VI, Van der Laan PH, Smeenk W, Gerris JR (2009) The relationship between parenting and delinquency: a meta-analysis. J Abnorm Child Psychol 37:749–775CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Stephenson MT, Hoyle RH, Palmgreen P, Slater MD (2003) Brief measures of sensation seeking for screening and large-scale surveys. Drug Alcohol Depend 72:279–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Papachristos AV (2006) Social network analysis and gang research: theory and methods. In: Short JF, Hughes LA (eds) Studying youth gangs. Altamira Press, Oxford, pp 99–116Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychological Studies Academic Group, National Institute of EducationNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Department of Applied Social SciencesThe Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityKowloonHong Kong
  3. 3.Policy and Leadership Studies Academic Group, National Institute of EducationNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

Personalised recommendations