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Anti-social behaviour (which can be spelled with or without the hyphen) (aka deviant behavior) is often seen as social behaviour that violates social norms and lacks judgement and consideration for others and may cause them or their property damage. It may be intentional, as with abuse, bullying or vandalism, or the result of negligence. In sociology it is theoretically considered under the heading of deviance.

Persistent anti-social behaviour may be a manifestation of an antisocial personality disorder. The counterpart of anti-social behaviour is pro-social behaviour, namely any behaviour intended to help or benefit another person, group or society.[1]

In common parlance, antisocial often has a significantly different meaning and is used to describe those who perceived to be excessively introverted. Though technically an incorrect definition of the antisocial behaviour, this use has become increasingly common.

With both pro- and anti-social behaviour, intent is the crucial determinant; for instance, infants may act in seemingly anti-social ways, yet are generally accepted as too young to have developed an adequate theory of mind to know the difference. By age 4 or 5, however, children should have developed sufficiently to distinguish between the two.[1]

Types of antisocial behavior

Antisocial behaviour is characterised as abuse and to the degree that there is a public element to the behaviour the following may be regarded as examples of antisocial behavior:

Other behavior breaking social norms

Other behavior may have negative social impacts:


In preschool-aged children, an increase in aggression is normal, but parents should teach their children the proper lessons. Lack of such behavioural changes is cause for concern, as this may lead to depression and anxiety later in life; however, continued aggression can indicate more severe problems. Both bullies and their victims have inadequate emotional regulation. Ultimately, parents should be aware that "emotions need to be regulated, not repressed"[2].

In generic terms, anti-social behaviour is any action which has a negative effect on the growth or continuation of the society. A person's behaviour has the possible result of endangering, a negative effect, or improving, a positive effect, the social order. IE. The proof is: If the mathematical sample of any social group is 100% of the society and in that sample all (100%) behave the same, does the society grow (positive) or diminish, (negative)? If the effect of the behaviour of all members of the society is negative, the same behaviour in one member is negative, or "anti-social".

UK government involvement

The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 defines anti-social behaviour as acting in a manner that has "caused or was likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to one or more persons not of the same household" as the perpetrator.

In 2003, in an attempt to curb anti-social behaviour, the British government introduced the Anti-Social Behaviour Act. This introduced the Anti-social behaviour order ("Asbo"), a civil order that can result in a jail sentence of up to five years if broken.

In a survey conducted by University College London during May 2006, the UK was thought by respondents to be Europe's worst country for anti-social behaviour, with 76% believing Britain had a "big or moderate problem". [1]

See also

References & Bibliography

Key texts



Additional material


  • Berger, Kathleen Stassen. The Developing Person Through Childhood and Adolescence, 6th edition (3rd publishing). Worth Publishers, 2003. ISBN 0-7167-5257-3


  1. 1.0 1.1 Berger 302
  2. Berger 303, 304

External links

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