Although not all disturbed children grow up into anti-social adults, most adults who regularly commit crimes or drink excessively or exhibit seriously unacceptable social behaviour have suffered disturbed relationships during their childhood. The complex evidence that attempts to link childhood adversity with adult social pathology is briefly reviewed in this chapter. A developmental perspective is providing psychologists with an increasingly refined outlook which is helping them throw much light on the causes of behaviours such as crime, alcohol abuse, and other conduct disorders (Le Blanc and Loeber 1993). It is broadly true that an unhappy childhood can lead to socially problematic behaviour, but the outcome is by no means inevitable or clear-cut.
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