The Dunedin Study - DMHDRU



Childhood self-control forecasts the pace of midlife aging and preparedness for old age | 2021
Richmond-Rakerd, L. S. Caspi, A. Ambler, A. d'Arbeloff, T. de Bruine, ... Show all » M. Elliott, M. Harrington, H. Hogan, S. Houts, R. M. Ireland, D. Keenan, R. Knodt, A. R. Melzer, T. R. Park, S. Poulton, R. Ramrakha, S. Rasmussen, L. J. H. Sack, E. Schmidt, A. T. Sison, M. L. Wertz, J. Hariri, A. R. Moffitt, T. E. « Hide
PNAS, 2021, 118(3), .
download pdfLink to full publication »
Our ref: RO748
Show abstract » The ability to control one's own emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in early life predicts a range of positive outcomes in later life, including longevity. Does it also predict how well people age? We studied the association between self-control and midlife aging in a population-representative cohort of children followed from birth to age 45 y, the Dunedin Study. We measured children's self-control across their first decade of life using a multi-occasion/multi-informant strategy. We measured their pace of aging and aging preparedness in midlife using measures derived from biological and physiological assessments, structural brain-imaging scans, observer ratings, self-reports, informant reports, and administrative records. As adults, children with better self-control aged more slowly in their bodies and showed fewer signs of aging in their brains. By midlife, these children were also better equipped to manage a range of later-life health, financial, and social demands. Associations with children's self-control could be separated from their social class origins and intelligence, indicating that self-control might be an active ingredient in healthy aging. Children also shifted naturally in their level of self-control across adult life, suggesting the possibility that self-control may be a malleable target for intervention. Furthermore, individuals' self-control in adulthood was associated with their aging outcomes after accounting for their self-control in childhood, indicating that midlife might offer another window of opportunity to promote healthy aging.
« Hide abstract

Genetics of nurture: A test of the hypothesis that parents' genetics predict their observed caregiving | 2019
Wertz J Belsky J Moffitt TE Belsky DW., Harrington H., Avinun R., Poulton R., Ramrakha S., ... Show all » Caspi A. « Hide
Development Psychology, 2019, 55(7), 1461–1472.
download pdfLink to full publication »
Our ref: RO716
Show abstract » Twin studies have documented that parenting behavior is partly heritable, but it is unclear how parents' genetics shape their caregiving. Using tools of molecular genetics, the present study investigated this process by testing hypotheses about associations between a genome-wide polygenic score for educational attainment and parental caregiving in 702 members of the Dunedin Study, a population-representative birth cohort. Data have been prospectively collected from when Study members were born through to midlife, and include assessments of the caregiving they provided once they became parents. Results showed that parents' polygenic scores predicted warm, sensitive, and stimulating caregiving, both in personal interactions with their young children (as captured on video) and through the home environments they created for their families (as observed by home visitors). The magnitude of this effect was small. Polygenic-score associations were independent of well-established predictors of parenting, such as parents' own childhood experiences of parenting and the age at which they became parents. Polygenic-score associations were mediated by parents' early-emerging cognitive abilities and self-control skills. Findings have implications for theory and research about genetic influences on caregiving and child development. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
« Hide abstract

Cumulative childhood risk is associated with a new measure of chronic inflammation in adulthood | 2019
Rasmussen, L.J.H., Moffitt, T.E., Eugen-Olsen, ... Show all » J., Belsky, D.W., Danese, A., Harrington, H., Houts R.M., Poulton, R., Sugden, K., Williams, B., Caspi, A. « Hide
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 2019, 60(2), 199-208.
download pdfLink to full publication »
Our ref: RO708
Show abstract » Background:Childhood risk factors are associated with elevated inflammatory biomarkers in adulthood, but it isunknown whether these risk factors are associated with increased adult levels of the chronic inflammation markersoluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR). We aimed to test the hypothesis that childhood exposureto risk factors for adult disease is associated with elevated suPAR in adulthood and to compare suPAR with the oft-reported inflammatory biomarker C-reactive protein (CRP).Methods:Prospective study of a population-representa-tive 1972–1973 birth cohort; the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study observed participants toage 38 years. Main childhood predictors were poor health, socioeconomic disadvantage, adverse childhoodexperiences (ACEs), low IQ, and poor self-control. Main adult outcomes were adulthood inflammation measuredas suPAR and high-sensitivity CRP (hsCRP).Results:Participants with available plasma samples at age 38 wereincluded (N=837, 50.5% male). suPAR (mean 2.40 ng/ml;SD0.91) was positively correlated with hsCRP (r0.15,p<.001). After controlling for sex, body mass index (BMI), and smoking, children who experienced more ACEs, lowerIQ, or had poorer self-control showed elevated adult suPAR. When the five childhood risks were aggregated into aCumulative Childhood Risk index, and controlling for sex, BMI, and smoking, Cumulative Childhood Risk wasassociated with higher suPAR (b0.10; SE 0.03;p=.002). Cumulative Childhood Risk predicted elevated suPAR, aftercontrolling for hsCRP (b0.18; SE 0.03;p<.001).Conclusions:Exposure to more childhood risk factors wasassociated with higher suPAR levels, independent of CRP. suPAR is a useful addition to studies connecting childhoodrisk to adult inflammatory burden.
« Hide abstract

Genetics and Crime: Integrating New Genomic Discoveries Into Psychological Research About Antisocial Behavior | 2018
Wertz, J. Caspi, A. Belsky, D. W. Beckley, A. L. Arseneault, ... Show all » L. Barnes, J. C. Corcoran, D. L. Hogan, S. Houts, R. Morgan, N. Odgers, C. L. Prinz, Joseph A. Sugden, K. Williams, B.S. Poulton, R. Moffitt, T. E « Hide
Psychological Science, 2018, 29(5), 791-803.
download pdfLink to full publication »
Our ref: RO703
Show abstract » Drawing on psychological and sociological theories of crime causation, we tested the hypothesis that genetic risk for low educational attainment (assessed via a genome-wide polygenic score) is associated with criminal offending. We further tested hypotheses of how polygenic risk relates to the development of antisocial behavior from childhood through adulthood. Across the Dunedin and Environmental Risk (E-Risk) birth cohorts of individuals growing up 20 years and 20,000 kilometers apart, education polygenic scores predicted risk of a criminal record with modest effects. Polygenic risk manifested during primary schooling in lower cognitive abilities, lower self-control, academic difficulties, and truancy, and it was associated with a life-course-persistent pattern of antisocial behavior that onsets in childhood and persists into adulthood. Crime is central in the nature-nurture debate, and findings reported here demonstrate how molecular-genetic discoveries can be incorporated into established theories of antisocial behavior. They also suggest that improving school experiences might prevent genetic influences on crime from unfolding.
« Hide abstract

Impact of early personal-history characteristics on the Pace of Aging: implications for clinical trials of therapies to slow aging and extend healthspan | 2017
Belsky, D. W., Caspi, A., Cohen, ... Show all » H. J., Kraus, W. E., Ramrakha, S., Poulton, R., Moffitt, T. E. « Hide
Aging Cell, 2017, 16(4), 644-651.
download pdfLink to full publication »
Our ref: RO699
Show abstract » Therapies to extend healthspan are poised to move from laboratory animal models to human clinical trials. Translation from mouse to human will entail challenges, among them the multifactorial heterogeneity of human aging. To inform clinical trials about this heterogeneity, we report how humans’ pace of biological aging relates to personal-history characteristics. Because geroprotective therapies must be delivered by midlife to prevent age-related disease onset, we studied young-adult members of the Dunedin Study 1972–73 birth cohort (n = 954). Cohort members’ Pace of Aging was measured as coordinated decline in the integrity of multiple organ systems, by quantifying rate of decline across repeated measurements of 18 biomarkers assayed when cohort members were ages 26, 32, and 38 years. The childhood personal-history characteristics studied were known predictors of age-related disease and mortality, and were measured prospectively during childhood. Personal-history characteristics of familial longevity, childhood social class, adverse childhood experiences, and childhood health, intelligence, and self-control all predicted differences in cohort members’ adulthood Pace of Aging. Accumulation of more personal-history risks predicted faster Pace of Aging. Because trials of anti-aging therapies will need to ascertain personal histories retrospectively, we replicated results using cohort members’ retrospective personal-history reports made in adulthood. Because many trials recruit participants from clinical settings, we replicated results in the cohort subset who had recent health system contact according to electronic medical records. Quick, inexpensive measures of trial participants’ early personal histories can enable clinical trials to study who volunteers for trials, who adheres to treatment, and who responds to anti-aging therapies.
« Hide abstract

The Genetics of Success: How single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with educational attainment relate to life-course development | 2016
Belsky, D.W., Moffitt, T.E., Corcoran, ... Show all » D.L., Domingue, B., Harrington, H. L., Houts, R., Ramrakha, S., Sugden, K., Williams, B.S., Poulton, R., Caspi, A. « Hide
Psychological Science, 2016, .
download pdf Our ref: RO682
Show abstract » A previous genome-wide association study (GWAS) of more than 100,000 individuals identified molecular-genetic predictors of educational attainment. We undertook in-depth life-course investigation of the polygenic score derived from this GWAS using the four-decade Dunedin Study (N = 918). There were five main findings. First, polygenic scores predicted adult economic outcomes even after accounting for educational attainments. Second, genes and environments were correlated: Children with higher polygenic scores were born into better-off homes. Third, children’s polygenic scores predicted their adult outcomes even when analyses accounted for their social-class origins; social-mobility analysis showed that children with higher polygenic scores were more upwardly mobile than children with lower scores. Fourth, polygenic scores predicted behavior across the life course, from early acquisition of speech and reading skills through geographic mobility and mate choice and on to financial planning for retirement. Fifth, polygenic-score associations were mediated by psychological characteristics, including intelligence, self-control, and interpersonal skill. Effect sizes were small. Factors connecting DNA sequence with life outcomes may provide targets for interventions to promote population-wide positive development.
« Hide abstract

Credit Scores, Cardiovascular Disease Risk and Human Capital | 2014
Israel, S., Caspi, A., Belsky, ... Show all » D.W., Harrington, H. L., Hogan, S., Houts, R., Ramrakha, S., Sanders, S., Poulton, R. , Moffitt, T.E. « Hide
PNAS, 2014, Available Early Edition online DOI: 10.1073.
download pdfLink to full publication »
Our ref: RO659
Show abstract » Credit scores are the most widely used instruments to assess whether or not a person is a financial risk. Credit scoring has been so successful that it has expanded beyond lending and into our everyday lives, even to inform how insurers evaluate our health. The pervasive application of credit scoring has outpaced knowledge about why credit scores are such useful indicators of individual behavior. Here we test if the same factors that lead to poor credit scores also lead to poor health. Following the Dunedin (New Zealand) Longitudinal Study cohort of 1,037 study members, we examined the association between credit scores and cardiovascular disease risk and the underlying factors that account for this association. We find that credit scores are negatively correlated with cardiovascular disease risk. Variation in household income was not sufficient to account for this association. Rather, individual differences in human capital factors educational attainment, cognitive ability, and self-control predicted both credit scores and cardiovascular disease risk and accounted for ~45% of the correlation between credit scores and cardiovascular disease risk. Tracing human capital factors back to their childhood antecedents revealed that the characteristic attitudes, behaviors, and competencies children develop in their first decade of life account for a significant portion (~22%) of the link between credit scores and cardiovascular disease risk at midlife. We discuss the implications of these findings for policy debates about data privacy, financial literacy, and early childhood interventions.
« Hide abstract

Lifelong Impact of Early Self-Control | 2013
Terrie E. Moffitt, Richie Poulton, and Avshalom Caspi
American Scientist, 2013, 101 352-359.
download pdfLink to full publication »
Our ref: PJ39
Show abstract » The Dunedin Study is a longitudinal research effort that has followed more than 1,000 people from birth over four decades, collecting information on their physical health and social wellbeing. Over the past 38 years, the participants have been physically and psychologically examined 12 times, at birth and then at ages 3, 5, 7,9,11,13,15,18,21,26,32, and 38.
« Hide abstract

Undercontrolled temperament at age 3 predicts disordered gambling at age 32: a longitudinal study of a complete birth cohort | 2012
Slutske, W., Moffitt, T.E., Caspi, ... Show all » A., Poulton, R. « Hide
Psychological Science, 2012, 23(23), 510-516.
download pdfLink to full publication »
Our ref: RO620
Show abstract » Using data from the large, 30-year prospective Dunedin cohort study, we examined whether preexisting individual differences in childhood temperament predicted adulthood disordered gambling (a diagnosis covering the full continuum of gambling-related problems). A 90-min observational assessment at age 3 was used to categorize children into five temperament groups, including one primarily characterized by behavioral and emotional undercontrol. The children with undercontrolled temperament at 3 years of age were more than twice as likely to evidence disordered gambling at ages 21 and 32 than were children who were well-adjusted at age 3. These associations could not be explained by differences in childhood IQ or family socioeconomic status. Cleanly demonstrating the temporal relation between behavioral undercontrol and adult disordered gambling is an important step toward building more developmentally sensitive theories of disordered gambling and may put researchers in a better position to begin considering potential routes to disordered-gambling prevention through enhancing self-control and emotional regulation.
« Hide abstract

Can Childhood Factors Predict Workplace Deviance? | 2012
Piquero, N.L., Moffitt, T.E.
Justice Quarterly, 2012, 1-29.
download pdfLink to full publication »
Our ref: RO617
Show abstract » Compared to the more common focus on street crime, empirical research on workplace deviance has been hampered by highly select samples, cross-sectional research designs, and limited inclusion of relevant predictor variables that bear on important theoretical debates. A key debate concerns the extent to which childhood conduct-problem trajectories influence crime over the life-course, including adults' workplace crime, whether childhood low self-control is a more important determinant than trajectories, and/or whether each or both of these childhood factors relate to later criminal activity. This paper provides evidence on this debate by examining two types of workplace deviance: production and property deviance separately for males and females. We use data from the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, a birth cohort followed into adulthood, to examine how childhood factors (conduct-problem trajectories and low self-control) and then adult job characteristics predict workplace deviance at age 32. Analyses revealed that none of the childhood factors matter for predicting female deviance in the workplace but that conduct-problem trajectories did account for male workplace deviance.
« Hide abstract

A gradient of childhood self-control predicts health, wealth, and public safety | 2011
Moffitt, T.E., Arseneault, L., Belsky, ... Show all » D.W., Dickson, N., Hancox, R. J., Harrington, H. L., Houts, R., Poulton, R., Roberts, B.W., Ross, S., Sears, M.R., Thomson, W. M., Caspi, A. « Hide
PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA), 2011, 108(108), 2693-2698.
download pdfLink to full publication »
Our ref: RO602
Show abstract » Policy-makers are considering large-scale programs aimed at self-control to improve citizens' health and wealth and reduce crime. Experimental and economic studies suggest such programs could reap benefits. Yet, is self-control important for the health, wealth, and public safety of the population? Following a cohort of 1,000 children from birth to the age of 32 y, we show that childhood self-control predicts physical health, substance dependence, personal finances, and criminal offending outcomes, following a gradient of self-control. Effects of children's self-control could be disentangled from their intelligence and social class as well as from mistakes they made as adolescents. In another cohort of 500 sibling-pairs, the sibling with lower self-control had poorer outcomes, despite shared family background. Interventions addressing self-control might reduce a panoply of societal costs, save taxpayers money, and promote prosperity.
« Hide abstract

Personality influences on change in smoking behaviour | 2009
Welch, D., Poulton, R.
Health Psychology, 2009, 28(28), 292-299.
Link to full publication »
Our ref: RO583
Show abstract » Objective: To investigate associations between personality traits in early adulthood (and changes in them) and change in smoking status. Design: Prospective, longitudinal study of a general-population birth cohort. Main Outcome Measures: We measured smoking at ages 18, 26, and 32, and personality at ages 18 and 26 using the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire (Tellegen & Waller, in press). We assessed personality's ability to predict future smoking, and assessed how changes in personality traits relate to change in smoking status. Results: Higher aggression and alienation at age 18 predicted smoking at 26; higher self-control and traditionalism at age 18 predicted nonsmoking at 26; and higher alienation at age 26 predicted persistence of smoking to age 32. Personality change between 18 and 26 was associated with change in smoking behavior; those who stopped smoking decreased more than others in negative emotionality and increased more in constraint. Conclusion: These findings suggest that interventions fostering personality change may be effective in reducing smoking and indicate appropriate targets for such antismoking interventions in young people. In particular, high alienation predicted smoking persistence, perhaps due to resistance to existing antismoking messages; we discuss approaches that may overcome this.
« Hide abstract

Personality and perception of tinnitus | 2008
Welch, D., Dawes, P. J.
Ear and Hearing, 2008, 29(29), 684-692.
doi: 10.1097/AUD.0b013e318177d9ac
Link to full publication »
Our ref: RO565
Show abstract » OBJECTIVES:: Tinnitus has high prevalence and a wide range of etiologies and of impacts on sufferers. Our objective was to develop understanding of the role of personality in the perception of tinnitus in the general population. As a theoretical basis for this, we combined elements of a general model of signal detection with the ideas of ignition (development) and promotion (neural transmission) of tinnitus, and considered plausible roles for personality factors within this conceptual framework. DESIGN:: We interviewed a birth cohort of 970 people aged 32 yr sampled from the general population. On the basis of questioning, we divided them into three groups, those without tinnitus, those with occasional tinnitus (including those with transient tinnitus of very brief duration), and those who experienced tinnitus most of the time. We also established how annoying or distressing the tinnitus was, and assessed personality using the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire. RESULTS:: Tinnitus was experienced rarely by 38.2% and half the time or more by 6.8% of those studied. Men and women did not differ in the amount of tinnitus reported, but women were more likely to find it annoying. People from lower socioeconomic backgrounds were more likely to report tinnitus. People with tinnitus were more socially withdrawn, reactive to stress, alienated, and less Self-Controlled. People who were more annoyed by tinnitus were more socially withdrawn, and men were more stress reactive and alienated. CONCLUSIONS:: Our interpretation of the findings is that personality influences the persistence of tinnitus by influencing the tendency to be aware of it. Consideration of personality factors may improve the ability to tailor tinnitus therapies, and the concept of awareness may benefit treatment outcomes by showing tinnitus sufferers a means of internalizing the locus of control over their symptoms.
« Hide abstract

Self-control and criminal career dimensions | 2007
Piquero, A.R., Moffitt, T. E. , Wright, ... Show all » B.R. « Hide
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 2007, 23(23), 72-89.
download pdfLink to full publication »
Our ref: RO524
Show abstract » The criminal career paradigm parcels offenders' careers into multiple dimensions, including participation, frequency, persistence, seriousness, career length, and desistance, and each dimension may have different causes. In a forceful critique of this perspective, Gottfredson and Hirschi claim that low self-control equally predicts all dimensions of criminal behavior and that its effect holds steady across types of people, including both men and women. This study examines the link between low self-control and the career dimensions of participation, frequency, persistence, and desistance from crime. Analyses also investigate whether self-control distinguishes between persistence and desistance. Using data from 985 participants in the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Human Development Study, the authors found overall support for Gottfredson and Hirschi's position.
« Hide abstract

Does the perceived risk of punishment deter criminally-prone individuals? Rational choice, self-control, and crime | 2004
Wright, B.R., Caspi, A., Moffitt, ... Show all » T.E., Paternoster, R. « Hide
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 2004, 41(41), 180-213.
download pdf Our ref: RO456
Show abstract » Society's efforts to deter crime with punishment may be ineffective because those individuals most prone to commit crime often act impulsively, with little thought for the future, and so they may be unmoved by the threat of later punishment. Deterrence messages they receive, therefore, may fall on deaf ears. This article examines this issue by testing the relationship between criminal propensity, perceived risks and costs of punishment, and criminal behavior. The authors analyzed data from the Dunedin (New Zealand) Study, a longitudinal study of individuals from birth through age26 (N = 1,002). They found that in fact, deterrence perceptions had their greatest impact on criminally prone study members.
« Hide abstract

The effects of social ties on crime vary by criminal propensity: A life-course model of interdependence | 2001
Wright, B.R., Caspi, A., Moffitt, ... Show all » T.E., Silva, P.A. « Hide
Criminology, 2001, 39(39), 321-351.
download pdf Our ref: RO386
Show abstract » Previous studies have explained the transition from criminal propensity in youth to criminal behavior in adulthood with several hypotheses: (1) enduring criminal propensity, (2) unique social causation, and (3) cumulative social disadvantage. In this article we develop an additional hypothesis derived from the life-course concept of interdependence: (4) that the effect of social ties on crime vary as a function of individuals' levels of criminal propensity. Prosocial ties, such as ties to education , should deter criminal behavior most strongly among individuals prone to crime. We term this a social-protection effect. Antisocial ties, such as delinquent peers, should promote criminal behavior most strongly among the same, criminally-prone individuals - a social-amplification effect. We tested these four hypotheses with data from the Dunedin Study. In support of previous hypotheses, low self-control predicted more criminal behavior, prosocial ties predicted less crime, and low self-control predicted weaker social ties that led to more crime. In support of life-course interdependence, low self-control significantly interacted with social ties. Prosocial ties, such as education, employment, family ties, and partnerships deterred crime, and antisocial ties, such as delinquent peers, promoted crime, most strongly among individuals displaying low self-control. Our findings bear upon the generalizability of standard psychological and sociological theories of crime and on practical intervention for youthful offenders.
« Hide abstract

Partner abuse and general crime: How are they the same? How are they different? | 2000
Moffitt, T.E., Krueger, R.F., Caspi, ... Show all » A., Fagan, J. « Hide
Criminology, 2000, 38(38), 201-235.
Link to full publication »
Our ref: RO353
Show abstract » Both partner abuse and general crime violate the rights and safety of victims. But are these phenomena the same or are they distinct, demanding their own research and intervention specialities? Are persons who abuse their partners the same people who commit other criminal behavior? Do partner abuse and general crime share the same correlates? We investigated these questions in a birth cohort of over 800 young adults, by testing whether a personality model known to predict general crime would also predict partner abuse. Personality data were gathered at age 18, and self-reported partner abuse and general criminal offending were measured at age 21. Results from modelling latent constructs showed that partner abuse and general crime represent different constructs that are moderately related; they are not merely two expressions of the same underlying antisocial propensity. Group comparisons showed many, but not all, partner abusers also engaged in violence against nonintimates. Personality analyses showed that partner abuse and general crime shared a strong propensity from a trait called Negative Emotionality. However, crime was related to weak Constraint (low self-control), but partner abuse was not. All findings applied to women as well as to men, suggesting that women's partner abuse may be motivated by the same intra-personal features that motivate men's abuse. The results are consistent with theoretical and applied arguments about the uniqueness of partner violence relative to other crime and violence.
« Hide abstract

Low self-control, social bonds, and crime: social causation, social selection, or both? | 1999
Wright, B.R., Caspi, A., Moffitt, ... Show all » T.E., Silva, P.A. « Hide
Criminology, 1999, 37(37), 479-514.
download pdfLink to full publication »
Our ref: RO347
Show abstract » This article examines the social-selection and social-causation processes that generate criminal behavior. We describe these processes with three theoretical models: a social-causation model that links crime to contemporaneous social relationships; a social-selection model that links crime to personal characteristics formed in childhood; and a mixed selection-causation model that links crime to social relationships and childhood characteristics. We tested these models with a longitudinal study in Dunedin, New Zealand, of individuals followed from birth through age 21. We analyzed measures of childhood and adolescent low self-control as well as adolescent and adult social bonds and criminal behavior. In support of social selection, we found that low self-control in childhood predicted disrupted social bonds and criminal offending later in life. In support of social causation, we found that social bonds and adolescent delinquency predicted later adult crime and, further, that the effect of self-control on crime was largely mediated by social bonds. In support of both selection and causation, we found that the social-causation effects remained significant even when controlling for preexisting levels of self-control, but that their effects diminished. Taken together, these findings support theoretical models that incorporate social-selection and social-causation processes.
« Hide abstract