To begin this essay, I will attempt to give a full description of the components of antisocial behavior in order to accurately depict my sister's situation. The main purpose of this essay is to better educate myself on this particular behavior disorder and to better understand Brandi's choices, actions, and behavior. According to the American Psychiatric Association manual, antisocial behavior, also known as conduct disorder or oppositional defiant disorder, is described as "a recurrent pattern of negativistic, defiant, disobedient, and hostile behavior toward authority figures that persists for at least six months- (Nystul, 2003). The manual also states that a diagnosis of antisocial personality must meet several requirements: a failure to conform to social norms, consistent deceitfulness, impulsiveness, failure to plan ahead, irritability, aggressiveness, a consistent disregard for work and family obligations, a consistent disregard for the safety of oneself and others, and lastly, a lack of regret or remorse (Harvard, 2000). .
Oddly, clinical descriptions note that most adolescents displaying significant signs of antisocial behavior are of adequate intellect and do not display signs of thought disorder. These individuals simply fail to exercise good judgment in decision-making. Accordingly, these youths also have difficulties seeing the "consequences" and various outcomes of their choices and behavior (Pardini, 2003). Finally, other typical behaviors in adolescents affected by conduct disorder include: truancy, lying and stealing, engaging in physical fights, a tendency to run away, lighting fires, cruelty to animals, a tendency to use drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes at a early age, low self-esteem, learning difficulties, and aggression to others (Colman, 2003).
Next, I will discuss proposed potential causes of these antisocial behaviors in children. The most prominent and repeated cause I read about involved the child's family life and the parenting they received early in life.