The behaviors that we individually adopt as a member of a society can serve both to preserve and maintain coexistence and to disrupt or modify the climate and harmony of that society. In other words, there are prosocial behaviors and also antisocial behavior.
Throughout this article, we’ll review the design and characteristics of antisocial behavior, along with the associated risk factors and diagnoses.
What is antisocial behavior?
By antisocial behavior we mean all of the behaviors, practices or actions aimed at disrupting or assaulting social order.. Likewise, any speech that encourages such acts is also considered to be antisocial behavior.
Traditionally, these acts and behaviors have been classified as transgressions, abuses, offenses or crimes judged and punished both by law and by society in general.
People with antisocial behavior can establish the center of their action both in spaces or on the property of others, through acts of vandalism, theft or robbery, and with the intention of causing harm to human beings. others through aggression, attacks and crimes, as well as abuse and harassment.
What are its main characteristics?
The main problem is the need to establish what can be considered anti-social behavior and what cannot, since the definition of anti-social behavior as all of this behavior that violates social norms or human rights it encompasses too many acts and too great a variety of acts.
For example, it is not the same to judge conduct of theft as antisocial, as graffiti on a wall, as a demonstration against a certain law or an unfair situation. However, all of them aim to change the established order.
The fact that there is as much flexibility in interpreting certain behaviors as there is anti-social behavior poses a problem in today’s society. In addition, there is the impression that in recent years the number of anti-social behavior has increased considerably, perhaps in response to the changes and the social and economic phenomena undergone.
Also keep in mind each culture or society can determine a number of guidelines or standards established that regulate roughly which behaviors are considered aggression or an attack on society and which are not.
However, there are a number of factors that may be useful in assessing and distinguishing the action as antisocial:
- Assessment of the seriousness of the acts.
- Evaluation of the action in terms of moving away from socially established guidelines.
- The socio-cultural context in the is realized.
Taking these factors into account, we can determine that at present there are no objective and clear criteria that serve as a guide to assess and qualify anti-social behavior, as well as to determine exactly which acts should be removed from it.
However, we can establish that antisocial behaviors are acts that violate the rules or social norms that govern coexistence, provided that they have a higher degree of severity than all the behaviors that occur in the daily life of people. .
What are the causes or what are the risk factors?
Another field that studies certain disciplines such as sociology, psychology, criminology or even legislation, are both causes and risk factors which can predispose the general population to engage in any type of antisocial behavior.
While the exact causes why a person can develop antisocial behavior is not known, there are a number of risk factors that can increase the likelihood of developing antisocial behavior.
These factors are divided into individual, family and contextual factors.
1. Individual factors
Elements such as temperament or personalityLikewise, impulsivity and attention problems or difficulty adjusting to change can be fundamental risk factors for the development of antisocial behavior.
Likewise, the lack of problem-solving skills, a low level of education or social adaptation and the lack of socio-cognitive skills make it difficult for the person to find effective and satisfactory alternatives to resolve conflicts beyond antisocial behavior.
2. Family factors
The family environment as well as parenting styles are essential to promote the emergence or development of antisocial behavior. Experiences such as separation from parents, changes of domicile or experiences of more extreme situations of abuse or domestic violence can be triggers for these behaviors.
Outraged, inappropriate parenting styles such as very permissive or authoritarian styles they can also have a big effect on them.
3. Environmental factors
The socio-cultural context, influence of media, school, peer groups or certain institutions, groups or associations may also encourage or encourage aggressive, violent or angry reactions from certain people.
Although these behaviors are not expected to occur as a result of or in association with any psychological pathology or disorder. There are a number of diagnoses in which this type of behavior appears repeatedly.
1. Antisocial personality disorder
According to the criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), antisocial personality disorder is defined by the appearance of a pattern of behavior that it reveals a general disregard for the rules and rights of others.
The main symptoms or signs of this diagnosis include rule violation, deception and manipulation as the main distinguishing features of this disorder. As well as impulsiveness, lack of remorse or neglect for the safety of others.
To make this diagnosis, the person must be over the age of 18, otherwise it is considered a dissocial personality disorder.
2. Dissocial personality disorder
In this second case, the behaviors are practically the same as those of antisocial personality disorder, but with the difference that they manifest themselves at an earlier age, especially in childhood or adolescence.
These behaviors classified as antisocial should be administered recurrently and qualitatively be much more severe than the typical rebellious behaviors expected at this age.