Anti-social behaviour
Anti-social behaviour is behaviour that lacks consideration for others and that may cause damage to society, whether intentionally or through negligence
Negligence is a failure to exercise the care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in like circumstances. The area of tort law known as negligence involves harm caused by carelessness, not intentional harm.According to Jay M...

, as opposed to pro-social behaviour, behaviour that helps or benefits society. Criminal and civil laws in various countries offer remedies for anti-social behaviour.

In psychiatry
Psychiatry is the medical specialty devoted to the study and treatment of mental disorders. These mental disorders include various affective, behavioural, cognitive and perceptual abnormalities...

, particularly in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is published by the American Psychiatric Association and provides a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders...

, persistent anti-social behaviour is part of a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder
Antisocial personality disorder
Antisocial personality disorder is described by the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fourth edition , as an Axis II personality disorder characterized by "...a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood...

. The ICD-10
The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision is a medical classification list for the coding of diseases, signs and symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances, and external causes of injury or diseases, as maintained by the...

 defines a conceptually similar dissocial personality disorder.

In common English vernacular; anti-social is often used to describe those perceived to be excessively introverted, an incorrect though increasingly common usage. The correct term for an introverted person who is "not social" would be asocial; asocial means "avoidance of society" while antisocial means "hostile toward society".

Social development

Intent and discrimination may determine both pro- and anti-social behaviour. Infant
A newborn or baby is the very young offspring of a human or other mammal. A newborn is an infant who is within hours, days, or up to a few weeks from birth. In medical contexts, newborn or neonate refers to an infant in the first 28 days after birth...

s may act in seemingly anti-social ways, yet be generally accepted as too young to know the difference before the age of 4 or 5. In preschool-aged children, an increase in aggression
In psychology, as well as other social and behavioral sciences, aggression refers to behavior between members of the same species that is intended to cause humiliation, pain, or harm. Ferguson and Beaver defined aggressive behavior as "Behavior which is intended to increase the social dominance of...

 is normal, indeed lack of such behavioural changes may lead to depression
Clinical depression
Major depressive disorder is a mental disorder characterized by an all-encompassing low mood accompanied by low self-esteem, and by loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities...

 and anxiety
Anxiety is a psychological and physiological state characterized by somatic, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral components. The root meaning of the word anxiety is 'to vex or trouble'; in either presence or absence of psychological stress, anxiety can create feelings of fear, worry, uneasiness,...

 later in life. However, continued aggression can indicate problems. Persistent anti-social behaviour may be a manifestation of an antisocial personality disorder
Antisocial personality disorder
Antisocial personality disorder is described by the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fourth edition , as an Axis II personality disorder characterized by "...a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood...

. Parents should teach their children that "emotions need to be regulated, not repressed".

In UK law

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
The household is "the basic residential unit in which economic production, consumption, inheritance, child rearing, and shelter are organized and carried out"; [the household] "may or may not be synonymous with family"....

" as the perpetrator. There has been debate concerning the vagueness of this definition.
The Act introduced the Anti-Social Behaviour Order
Anti-Social Behaviour Order
An Anti-Social Behaviour Order or ASBO is a civil order made against a person who has been shown, on the balance of evidence, to have engaged in anti-social behaviour. The orders, introduced in the United Kingdom by Prime Minister Tony Blair in 1998, were designed to correct minor incidents that...

 ("ASBO"), a civil
Civil law (common law)
Civil law, as opposed to criminal law, is the branch of law dealing with disputes between individuals or organizations, in which compensation may be awarded to the victim...

 order that can result in a jail sentence
Imprisonment is a legal term.The book Termes de la Ley contains the following definition:This passage was approved by Atkin and Duke LJJ in Meering v Grahame White Aviation Co....

 of up to five years if the terms are breached. Anti-Social Behaviour Orders are civil sanctions, effective for a minimum of two years and classed as criminal proceedings for funding purposes due to restrictions they place on individual liberty. An Anti-Social Behaviour Order does not give the offender a criminal record
Criminal record
A criminal record is a record of a person's criminal history, generally used by potential employers, lenders etc. to assess his or her trustworthiness. The information included in a criminal record varies between countries and even between jurisdictions within a country...

, but sets conditions prohibiting the offender from specific anti-social acts or entering into defined areas. Breach of an Anti-Social Behaviour Order is, however, a criminal offence.

In 2003 the Anti-Social Behaviour Act
Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003
The Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which almost entirely applies only to England and Wales. The Act, championed by then Home Secretary, David Blunkett, was passed in 2003...

 amended the original Act and introduced further sanctions such as Child Curfews and Dispersal Orders.

The following list sets out what behaviour the UK police classify as anti-social:
  • Substance misuse such as glue sniffing
  • Drinking alcohol on the streets
  • Problems related to animals such as not properly restraining animals in public places
  • Begging
  • Prostitution related activity such as curb crawling and loitering
  • Abandoned vehicles that may or may not be stolen
  • Vehicle nuisance such as "cruises" – revving car engines, racing, wheel spinning and horn sounding.
  • Noise coming from business or industry
  • Noise coming from alarms
  • Noise coming from pubs and clubs
  • Environmental damage such as graffiti and littering
  • Inappropriate use of fireworks
  • Inappropriate use of public space such as disputes among neighbours, rowdy or inconsiderate behaviour
  • General drunken behaviour (which is rowdy or inconsiderate)
  • Hoax calls to the emergency services
  • Pubs or clubs serving alcohol after hours
  • Malicious communication
  • Hate incidents where abuse involves race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability
  • Firearms incidents such as use of an imitation weapon

In a survey conducted by University College London
University College London
University College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom and the oldest and largest constituent college of the federal University of 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".

See also

  • Deviance (sociology)
    Deviance (sociology)
    Deviance in a sociological context describes actions or behaviors that violate cultural norms including formally-enacted rules as well as informal violations of social norms...

  • Proactive policing
    Proactive policing
    Proactive policing is the theory and practice of engaging criminals before they commit a crime, thereby preventing crime from taking place in the first place. Police action after receiving a complaint or call for help from the public does not constitute proactive policing...

  • Social behaviour
    Social behavior
    In physics, physiology and sociology, social behavior is behavior directed towards society, or taking place between, members of the same species. Behavior such as predation which involves members of different species is not social...

  • Social order
    Social order
    Social order is a concept used in sociology, history and other social sciences. It refers to a set of linked social structures, social institutions and social practices which conserve, maintain and enforce "normal" ways of relating and behaving....

Further reading

  • Judith and Martin Land, Adoption Detective: Memoir of an Adopted Child, ISBN 978-1-60494-571-3, Wheatmark Publishing, 2011, pages 43, 91, 268-269, state that antisocial behavior is a characteristic highly common among children who are orphaned, fostered, or adopted. Adopted parents may be prone to address psychological trauma by denying personal responsibility for insecurities and antisocial behavior exhibited by their adopted children by placing all of the blame for their undesirable behaviors on the birth parents. To be an adoptee in the twenty-first century does not carry the same stigma that it did a generation ago, but many adoptees are still prone to act out their frustrations and hostilities through destructive antisocial behavior. A consequence to society is the abnormally high number of adopted children involved in crime and drugs, which is strikingly higher than the average population. Social workers, medical doctors, and clergy seldom inform birth mothers that their children, if given to strangers for adoption, will have a high possibility of exhibiting selective mutism, oppositional defiant disorder, separation syndrome, and other unstable qualities. They are also more likely to exhibit antisocial behavior. The world is littered with antisocial misfits, criminals, alcoholics, and chronically afflicted persons who began their lives as adoptees.

External links

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