Research Topic

Biopsychosocial Protective Factors Related to Antisocial Behaviors

About this Research Topic

A myriad of biological, social, and psychological factors have demonstrated predictive utility for antisocial behaviors. Given their multidimensional nature, a comprehensive examination of antisocial behaviors should consider not only risk factors, but also, protective factors. Studies of protective biological indicators from the fields of genetics, neurobiology, and endocrinology have demonstrated fruitful results. Similarly, environmental and social factors associated with family, peer groups, and neighbors have demonstrated predictive utility to have psychological factors including temperament and intelligence. While risk factors have long been the focus of studies targeting antisocial behaviors, it is crucial to examine the role played by protective factors to gain a comprehensive understanding of the causes and possible predictors of such behaviors.

Antisocial behaviors have been associated with both direct and indirect health and social costs such as incarceration, physical injury to property and people, as well as psychological issues that affect victims, perpetrators, and their families. A focus solely on risks overlooks the factors that may prevent antisocial behavior before it occurs. Furthermore, strict adherence to studies of risk fails to consider the way protective actions manifest themselves and how they may affect others. Initiatives aimed at reducing antisocial behaviors thus require a multifaceted research approach that considers both risk and protective factors that can provide a framework for prevention and promotion of prosocial behaviors.

Extensive research has examined the social and psychological risks associated with antisocial behaviors. Likewise, technological advances (e.g. Genome-wide association studies, polygenic risk scores, fMRI) have identified various genetic risk factors and possible neurobiological mechanisms. However, less focus has been paid to biopsychosocial protective factors and how these may manifest and shield against troublesome outcomes. The limited focus on protective factors may be related to the relative complexity of their definition and measurement. Increasingly, research has identified potential pathways for evaluation of factors that protect against antisocial behaviors such as high self-control, positive mood, warm parent-child relationship, prosocial friend networks, school climate, and community bounding. Likewise, nascent research has shown the protective nature of biological factors (e.g. low resting heart rate) and that such protection increases with the accumulation of these factors. Given the multifactorial nature of antisocial behaviors, it is crucial to integrate biological and social factors (e.g. gene by environment interactions).

As such, the purpose of this Research Topics is to highlight potential multidisciplinary protective factors associated with antisocial behaviors. Moreover, it is directed to highlight new methodologies in the study of the interaction between biological, social, and psychological factors. Expanding knowledge of these factors will complement previous research on risk factors and potentially inform initiatives aimed at controlling and preventing violence and crime. Our scope includes a wide range of protective factors and we welcome submissions from any specialization examining this phenomenon.


Keywords: Environment, Genetics, Antisocial behaviors, Protective factors, Neural Mechanisms


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

A myriad of biological, social, and psychological factors have demonstrated predictive utility for antisocial behaviors. Given their multidimensional nature, a comprehensive examination of antisocial behaviors should consider not only risk factors, but also, protective factors. Studies of protective biological indicators from the fields of genetics, neurobiology, and endocrinology have demonstrated fruitful results. Similarly, environmental and social factors associated with family, peer groups, and neighbors have demonstrated predictive utility to have psychological factors including temperament and intelligence. While risk factors have long been the focus of studies targeting antisocial behaviors, it is crucial to examine the role played by protective factors to gain a comprehensive understanding of the causes and possible predictors of such behaviors.

Antisocial behaviors have been associated with both direct and indirect health and social costs such as incarceration, physical injury to property and people, as well as psychological issues that affect victims, perpetrators, and their families. A focus solely on risks overlooks the factors that may prevent antisocial behavior before it occurs. Furthermore, strict adherence to studies of risk fails to consider the way protective actions manifest themselves and how they may affect others. Initiatives aimed at reducing antisocial behaviors thus require a multifaceted research approach that considers both risk and protective factors that can provide a framework for prevention and promotion of prosocial behaviors.

Extensive research has examined the social and psychological risks associated with antisocial behaviors. Likewise, technological advances (e.g. Genome-wide association studies, polygenic risk scores, fMRI) have identified various genetic risk factors and possible neurobiological mechanisms. However, less focus has been paid to biopsychosocial protective factors and how these may manifest and shield against troublesome outcomes. The limited focus on protective factors may be related to the relative complexity of their definition and measurement. Increasingly, research has identified potential pathways for evaluation of factors that protect against antisocial behaviors such as high self-control, positive mood, warm parent-child relationship, prosocial friend networks, school climate, and community bounding. Likewise, nascent research has shown the protective nature of biological factors (e.g. low resting heart rate) and that such protection increases with the accumulation of these factors. Given the multifactorial nature of antisocial behaviors, it is crucial to integrate biological and social factors (e.g. gene by environment interactions).

As such, the purpose of this Research Topics is to highlight potential multidisciplinary protective factors associated with antisocial behaviors. Moreover, it is directed to highlight new methodologies in the study of the interaction between biological, social, and psychological factors. Expanding knowledge of these factors will complement previous research on risk factors and potentially inform initiatives aimed at controlling and preventing violence and crime. Our scope includes a wide range of protective factors and we welcome submissions from any specialization examining this phenomenon.


Keywords: Environment, Genetics, Antisocial behaviors, Protective factors, Neural Mechanisms


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

01 July 2020 Abstract
01 December 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

01 July 2020 Abstract
01 December 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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