Antisocial behavior

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  • 1: averse to the society of others : unsociable
  • 2: hostile or harmful to organized society; especially : being or marked by behavior deviating sharply from the social norm


Anti-social behavior (with or without hyphen) is behaviour that lacks consideration for others and may cause damage to the society, whether intentionally or through negligence. This is opposed to pro-social behaviour, which is behaviour that helps or benefits the society. Criminal and civil laws in various countries offer remedies for anti-social behaviour. Antisocial behavior is labeled as such when it is deemed contrary to prevailing norms for social conduct. This encompasses a large spectrum of actions. Murder, rape, use of illegal substances, and a wide variety of activities are deemed anti-social behaviours. In addition to actions that oppose established law, anti-social actions also include activities that members of society find objectionable even if they are legal, such as drunkenness and sexual promiscuity. In psychiatry, particularly in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, persistent anti-social behaviour is part of a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder. The ICD-10 defines a conceptually similar dissocial personality disorder.

Intent and discrimination may determine both pro- and anti-social behaviour. Infants may act in seemingly anti-social ways and yet be generally accepted as too young to know the difference before the age of 4 or 5. In preschool, children who have an increase in aggression is normal. Lack of aggression may lead to depression and anxiety later in life; however, continued aggression can indicate problems. Persistent anti-social behaviour may lead to antisocial personality disorder. Parents should teach their children that "emotions need to be regulated, not repressed".

Many of the studies regarding the media's influence on anti-social behavior have been deemed inconclusive. The violence, racism, sexism, and other antisocial acts are attributed to things such as genetic predisposition and violence in the home. Some reviews have found strong correlations between aggression and the viewing of violent media while others find little evidence to support their case. The only unanimously accepted truth regarding antisocial behavior is that parental guidance carries an undoubtedly strong influence; Providing children with brief negative evaluations of violent characters helps to reduce violent effects in the individual. Main article: Anti-Social Behaviour Order

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. There has been debate concerning the vagueness of this definition.[5] The Act introduced the Anti-Social Behaviour Order ("ASBO"), a civil order that can result in a jail sentence 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, 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.[1]