Prevention of Male Life Course Persistent Antisocial Behavior A Proposal

Robert eme

Abstract


The prevention of mental, emotional, and behavior problems in young people is a very high national mental health priority. Of all the various problems, a strong argument can be made that the prevention of male life-course-persistent (MLCP) antisocial behavior should assume the highest priority. MLCP refers to the childhood onset of severe overt conduct problems such as physical aggression, opposition-defiance, and rule-breaking that emerge from early neurodevelopmental risk factors such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and family adversity risk factors. MLCP greatly increases the risk for delinquency, adult criminality, and a host of other problems. If prevention of MLCP is ever to be effective, it must have three components: intensity, early beginning, and continuation over the long-term. This article makes the case that an essential part of the “early, intensive” components should be the preschool identification and treatment of children who have ADHD. It does so by establishing that ADHD is a major risk factor in the developmental sequence that leads to MLCP. It then argues that since there is massive evidence that ADHD can be very successfully treated, it follows that the early, intensive treatment of ADHD would be an effective means of preventing MLCP.


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