Youthful antisocial behavior is often viewed as a precursor to later violent and threatening behavior. Olweus (1979) reported aggressive reaction patterns in males that over time approached the stability of intelligence. While Olweus did not examine violent behavior directly, his study is often cited as evidence for the stability of violence. To examine the evidence for this assertion, this study synthesized the evidence from 82 reports of 58 prospective studies that followed individuals over some period of their life span. After correcting effect sizes for exogenous study features, the grand mean correlation of antisocial and substance misusing behaviors with later crimes against persons was estimated to be r = .33, a far cry from the stability of intelligence. Because these predictors are often used to select people into intervention, this study estimated the conditional error rates associated with identification for preventive intervention. Overall, selection failed to identify 66% of those who displayed later violence, while on average, 60% of those engaging in antisocial or substance-using behavior were not later violent.
Antisocial behavior and the prediction of violence