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Original Research

Three-Year Follow-Up of Syndromal Antisocial Behavior in Adults: Results From the Wave 2 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions

Risë B. Goldstein, PhD, MPH, and Bridget F. Grant, PhD, PhD

Published: June 16, 2009

Article Abstract

Objective: To present nationally representative findings on total antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) symptoms, major violations of others’ rights (MVOR), and violent symptoms over a 3-year follow-up in Wave 2 of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions among adults diagnosed at Wave 1 with ASPD versus syndromal adult antisocial behavior without conduct disorder before age 15 years (AABS, not a codable DSM-IV disorder).

Method: Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 34,653 respondents aged 18 years and older. Antisocial syndromes and comorbid lifetime substance use, mood, and 6 additional personality disorders were diagnosed at Wave 1 using the Alcohol Use Disorder and Associated Disabilities Interview Schedule-DSM-IV Version (AUDADIS-IV). The Wave 2 AUDADIS-IV assessed antisocial symptoms over follow-up, lifetime attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and posttraumatic stress disorder, and borderline, narcissistic, and schizotypal personality disorders. Wave 1 was conducted in 2001-2002 and Wave 2 in 2004-2005 by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Results: In unadjusted analyses, respondents with ASPD reported significantly more total, MVOR, and violent symptoms over follow-up than did respondents with AABS. Adjustment for baseline sociodemographics and psychiatric comorbidity attenuated these associations; after further adjustment for parallel antisocial symptom counts from age 15 years to Wave 1, associations with antisocial syndromes disappeared. Independent Wave 1 predictors of persistent antisociality over follow-up included male sex, not being married or cohabiting, low income, high school or less education, lifetime drug use disorders, additional personality disorders, and ADHD.

Conclusions: The distinction between ASPD and AABS holds limited value in predicting short-term course of antisocial symptomatology among adults. However, the prediction of persistent antisociality by psychiatric comorbidity argues for comprehensive diagnostic assessments, treatment of all identified disorders, and investigation of whether treatment of comorbidity might hasten remission of antisociality.

Submitted: July 16, 2008; accepted September 11, 2008.

Online ahead of print: June 16, 2009.

Corresponding author: Risë B. Goldstein, PhD, MPH, Laboratory of Epidemiology and Biometry, Room 3068, Division of Intramural Clinical and Biological Research, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, MS 9304, 5635 Fishers Lane, Bethesda, MD 20892-9304 (

Volume: 70

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