The latest research suggests antisocial and aggressive in teenagers is linked to underdeveloped parts of the brain associated with decision-making.

The Psychiatry volume of JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association) published a meta-analysis that combined brain imaging figures from 13 previous studies, making it the largest study of its kind. It revealed that areas of the brain important for empathic responses, reading facial expressions and emotional regulation are deficient in youths with behavioural problems.

Study author Dr Stephane De Brito said: 'We know that severe behavioural problems in youths are not only predictive of antisocial and aggressive behaviour in adulthood, but also substance misuse, mental health problems and poor physical health. For that reason, behavioural problems are an essential target for prevention efforts and our study advances understanding of the brain regions associated with aggressive and antisocial behaviour in youths.'

Co Author Dr Jack Rogers, Research Fellow at Birmingham University, said: 'There are a lot of questions still outstanding. For instance, prospective longitudinal studies are needed to assess if these structural differences are present early in life and if they persist over a longer period of time” He continued, “'In future research, it will also be important to examine if these brain differences, and the affective and cognitive processes they are involved in, can be influenced by therapeutic interventions to promote a good outcome in adult life.'

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Click for the full story from JAMA Psychiatry