Behavioral Activation System and Early Life Parental Abuse Are Associated with Antisocial Behaviors in Mexican Adolescents

Jennifer Lizeth Espinoza-Romero, Martha Frías-Armenta*, Marc Yancy Lucas, Nadia Sarai Corral-Frías

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Antisocial behavior (AB) is a complex phenomenon, predicted by a wide range of biological, environmental, and personality factors. These have high human and economic costs especially in adolescents, highlighting the importance of investigating factors that may be associated with these behaviors. Among the most potent predictors of AB are early life experiences and personality. To this end, the present study sought to investigate the association between early life parental abuse and behavioral activation system (BAS) personality traits assessed within the reinforcement sensitivity theory (RST) framework and antisocial behaviors in Mexican adolescents. Our sample consisted of 342 adolescents (Mage = 17, SD = 2.47) from northwestern Mexico. Participants, after parental consent and participant consent/assent (if minors), self-reported early life parental abuse, current BAS personality traits, and antisocial behaviors. Through structural equation models, our results suggest there is a positive association between early life parental abuse and antisocial behaviors, as well as a negative association with BAS personality traits (R2 = 37%). These results contribute to the current literature by suggesting that personality and environmental variables can predict adolescent antisocial behaviors. Future studies should explore the interplay between these variables longitudinally and investigate both risk and protective factors, as well as negative and positive outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1584
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This study was funded by the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACyT).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Antisocial behaviors
  • Behavioral activation system
  • Early life parental abuse
  • Mexican adolescents
  • Reinforcement sensitivity theory


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