Spouse similarity for antisocial behavior in the general population

Department of Psychiatry, McGill University and Centre for Civic Epidemiology and Community Studies, Sir Mortimer B. Davis-Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Psychological Medicine (Impact Factor: 5.94). 12/2002; 32(8):1407-16. DOI: 10.1017/S0033291702006530
Source: PubMed


In contrast with the large amount of research on the familial transmission of antisocial behaviour, few studies have investigated similarity between spouses for such behaviour. In addition, none of these studies have examined child conduct disorder (CCD) and adult antisocial behaviour (AAB) separately.
We studied 519 pairs of spouses who completed the Diagnostic Interview Schedule. In each pair, one spouse belonged to a random subsample of persons who had participated in a large population survey and was re-interviewed. Association between spouses for lifetime symptoms and DSM-III criteria of CCD, AAB, antisocial personality disorder and co-morbid psychiatric diagnoses was examined with bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses.
We observed a moderate association between spouses for the presence of CCD (OR = 4.02, 95% CI = 2.03-7.96), and a strong association for the presence of AAB (OR = 20.1, 95 % CI = 5.97-67.5). This similarity for AAB was independent of the similarity for CCD and persisted after adjustment for spousal similarity for disorders co-morbid with AAB. An examination of the relationship between marital status and the presence of CCD and/or AAB in the general population sample (from which originated our sample of couples) suggested that the spousal similarity for AAB was more likely attributable to assortative mating rather than marital contamination.
Our finding of a strong similarity between spouses for AAB has significant implications for both clinicians and researchers. It also suggests that adult antisocial behaviour should be considered as a distinct diagnostic entity, an approach which diverges from DSM-IV diagnostic criteria.

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    • "antisocial and substance use behavior) in adolescent romantic relationships (Rhule- Louie & McMahon, 2007). These studies have found that antisocial behavior between partners (including married couples) evidence moderate to large correlations (Du Fort et al., 2002). More recent research has explored partner similarity regarding popularity, physical attraction, and depressive symptoms among early adolescent romantic partnerships (Simon et al., 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: Most models exploring adolescent health behavior have focused on individual influences to understand behavior change. The goal of the current study was to assess the role of adolescent romantic partners on the expression of health behavior. Our sample utilized two waves of data from the U.S. National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which included 80 romantic dyads (160 individuals). A longitudinal multilevel analysis was conducted. We assessed individual and romantic partner health-harming behaviors (i.e., delinquency, alcohol use, smoking, and marijuana use), health-protective behaviors (i.e., physical activity, physical inactivity, sleep patterns, seatbelt use, and contraception motivations), as well as the role of gender and age. Participants average age was 16 years at baseline. We found evidence for partner similarity and partner influence with the majority of health-harming behaviors. Specifically, partner influence was evident for smoking and alcohol use with partner influence approaching significance for marijuana use. We found limited evidence for partner similarity and partner influence for health-protective behaviors. The importance of assessing romantic dyads was evident in these data. Interventions focusing on health-harming behavior for adolescent populations are important public health goals. It is recommended that future intervention efforts with adolescent health-harming behaviors should target not only peers, but also consider the role of romantic partners.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 02/2012; 74(9):1444-51. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.01.014 · 2.89 Impact Factor
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    • "Plomin et al. 1990), with the exception of antisocial behavior (e.g. Du Fort et al. 2002). If assortative mating is operating for genes related to externalizing behavior in youth, shared environmental influences on the phenotype may be inflated. "
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    Behavior Genetics 06/2011; 42(1):30-9. DOI:10.1007/s10519-011-9481-2 · 3.21 Impact Factor
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    • "There was also a negative correlation between self-reports of antisocial features. This stands in contrast to research which has found similarity (e.g., positive assortative mating) for antisocial behaviors (Galbaud du Fort, et al., 2002; Krueger, et al., 1998). Rather, this may be evidence of complementarity (e.g., negative assortative mating), that is, the idea that we are attracted to others whose personality traits complement our own. "
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    ABSTRACT: Informant reports can provide important information regarding the presence of pathological personality traits, and they can serve as useful supplements to self-report instruments. Ratings from a spouse may be a particularly valuable source of personality assessment because spouses are very well acquainted with the target person, have typically known the person for a long time, and witness behaviors across a variety of situations. In the current study, self- and spouse report measures based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) personality disorder criteria were collected from a nonclinical sample of 82 couples (N = 164). Agreement between self- and spouse report for several pathological personality factors was significant and somewhat higher than has been found for self and peer agreement. Nevertheless, the magnitude of self-spouse agreement was still moderate in size (mean r = .36). Findings are discussed with regard to using spouse report in the assessment of personality pathology.
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