A team of Australian researchers to are to examine whether antisocial behaviour runs in families.
The study, at the University of Queensland, will be the first in the country to investigate whether behavioural issues can be transmitted to a third generation.
Lead researcher Professor Jake Najman said the study would attempt to substantial the commonly held belief that the behaviour of family members influences subsequent generations.
“While there’s a belief in society that criminal behaviour is transmitted across generations, in reality we have very little evidence to back up this stereotype and even less information about why this may occur.”
Antisocial behaviour was a “major social problem”, he added, contributing to poor life prospects, ill health and a higher chance of imprisonment.
The study will examine a number of factors which have been linked to the development of antisocial behaviour, including “marriage instability, poverty and poor parenting”.
The professor said:
“..by looking at three generations, this study allows us to better examine the impact of these and other critical factors.”
Funding for the research will be provided by the Australian Research Council.