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Income gradients within child and adolescent antisocial behaviours

  • Patrycja J. Piotrowska (a1), Christopher B. Stride (a1), Barbara Maughan (a2), Robert Goodman (a2), Liz McCaw (a1) and Richard Rowe (a1)...



Low income is a widely studied risk factor for child and adolescent behavioural difficulties. Previous research on this relationship has produced mixed findings.


To investigate the level, shape and homogeneity of income gradients in different types of antisocial behaviour.


A representative sample of 7977 British children and adolescents, aged 5–16 years, was analysed. Hypotheses concerning the shapes and homogeneity of the relationships between family socioeconomic status and multiple antisocial behaviour outcomes, including clinical diagnoses of oppositional-defiant disorder, conduct disorder and symptom subscales, such as irritability and hurtfulness, were tested by structural equation models.


Consistent income gradients were demonstrated across all antisocial behaviours studied. Disorder prevalence and mean symptom counts decreased across income quintiles in a non-linear fashion.


Our findings emphasise that income gradients are similar across different forms of antisocial behaviour and indicate that income may lead to greater behavioural differences in the mid-income range and less variation at low- and high-income extremes.


Corresponding author

Patrycja J. Piotrowska, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TP, UK. Email:


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Declaration of interest

R.G. is owner of Youthinmind Ltd which provides no-cost and low-cost software and websites related to the Development and Well-Being Assessment.



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Income gradients within child and adolescent antisocial behaviours

  • Patrycja J. Piotrowska (a1), Christopher B. Stride (a1), Barbara Maughan (a2), Robert Goodman (a2), Liz McCaw (a1) and Richard Rowe (a1)...
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