The construct validity of rule-breaking and aggression in an adult clinical sample

Christopher J. Hopwood, S. Alexandra Burt, John C. Markowitz, Shirley Yen, M. Tracie Shea, Charles A. Sanislow, Carlos M. Grilo, Emily B. Ansell, Thomas H. McGlashan, John G. Gunderson, Mary C. Zanarini, Andrew E. Skodol, Leslie C. Morey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Previous research has demonstrated that aggression (AGG) and non-aggressive rule-breaking (RB) represent elements of antisocial behavior with different etiological mechanisms and associations to personality and psychopathology. However, these constructs have not been investigated in an adult clinical sample. In the current study, interview and self-report derived AGG and RB were associated with personality traits and disorders as well as functioning across several domains, family history, concurrent psychopathology, and prospective behaviors. Both AGG and RB were similarly related to disagreeableness. RB was uniquely related to low conscientiousness, cluster B personality disorders, functioning, problems in childhood, suicide risk, arrests, and substance use disorders. AGG (+) and RB (-) were differentially related to obsessive-compulsive personality disorder and conscientiousness. Gender moderation effects were limited. It was concluded that AGG and RB represent separable components of antisocial behavior with differential and clinically meaningful correlates in an adult clinical sample.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)803-808
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - May 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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