Callous-Unemotional Traits as Unique Prospective Risk Factors for Substance Use in Early Adolescent Boys and Girls

Seattle Children's Research Institute, 2001 8th Ave, Suite 600 M/S CW8-6, Seattle, WA 98121, USA.
Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology (Impact Factor: 3.09). 03/2012; 40(7):1099-110. DOI: 10.1007/s10802-012-9628-5
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Youth with elevated conduct disorder (CD) symptoms who also have callous-unemotional (CU) traits exhibit more antisocial behavior than youth without CU traits. However, evidence regarding whether CU traits increase risk of substance use over and above CD symptoms, and whether these associations differ for boys and girls, is scarce. Using the Developmental Pathways Project sample of 521 middle school students, we examined whether adolescent- and parent-reported CU traits measured in 6th grade prospectively predicted the onset and recurrence of substance use and use-related impairment by 9th grade. We also examined the degree to which CU traits uniquely predicted substance use and impairment over and above CD symptoms, as well as whether gender moderated these associations. Results indicated that adolescent-reported CU traits increased the likelihood of substance use and impairment onset and recurrence by 9th grade. Analyses revealed that CD symptoms accounted for prospective associations between adolescent-reported CU and substance use, but gender moderated these associations. Boys with elevated CU traits and CD symptoms were not more likely to report alcohol use onset or recurrence, but they were at highest risk of recurrent marijuana use, use of both alcohol and marijuana, and use-related impairment by 9th grade. Girls with low CU traits and high CD symptoms were most likely to report onset and recurrent use of alcohol, as well as recurrent marijuana use, use of both substances and impairment. Study findings highlight the importance of accounting for CD symptoms and gender when examining links between CU traits and substance use in early adolescence.

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Available from: Daniel Waschbusch, Jan 02, 2014
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    • "Further, like delinquency , there is evidence that adolescents can show very different patterns of substance use and these patterns may be associated with distinct risk factors. To illustrate this, in a study of 521 middle school students, CU traits did not contribute to low levels of alcohol and marijuana use but did contribute to the prediction of more severe recurrent use and to the prediction of the level of impairment associated with this use (Wymbs et al. 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Both callous-unemotional (CU) traits and impulse control are known risk factors associated with delinquency and substance use. However, research is limited in how contextual factors such as neighborhood conditions influence the associations between these two dispositional factors and these two externalizing behaviors. The current study utilized latent class analysis (LCA) to identify unique classes of delinquency and substance use within an ethnically diverse sample (n = 1216) of justice-involved adolescents (ages 13 to 17) from three different sites. Neighborhood disorder, CU traits, and impulse control were all independently associated with membership in classes with more extensive histories of delinquency and substance use. The effects of CU traits and impulse control in distinguishing delinquent classes was invariant across levels of neighborhood disorder, whereas neighborhood disorder moderated the association between impulse control and substance use. Specifically, the probability of being in more severe substance using classes for those low in impulse control was stronger in neighborhoods with fewer indicators of social and physical disorder.
    Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 07/2015; DOI:10.1007/s10802-015-0057-0 · 3.09 Impact Factor
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    • "However, while several studies have linked broader measures of adolescent psychopathic traits (i.e., including impulsive/life-style components) to high risk for substance use (e.g., Andershed et al. 2002), only one study has examined links between CU traits and substance use. Among youth assessed in the 6 th grade, CU traits predicted onset and recurrence of substance use by the 9 th grade (Wymbs et al. 2012). The lack of attention to potential links between CU traits and substance use is surprising given theoretical links between CU traits/psychopathic traits with substance use (Frick et al. 2014), and the established high comorbidity between substance use and psychopathy (Smith and Newman 1990). "
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    ABSTRACT: Callous-unemotional (CU) traits, conduct problems (CP), and deficits in executive control are all linked to the development of more severe antisocial behavior, including violence and substance use. Though previous research has examined the impact of these factors on antisocial outcomes, little work has examined trajectories of CU traits across adolescence and how these trajectories predict greater antisocial behavior in adulthood. Moreover, no study has assessed how severity of early CP and executive control may exacerbate these pathways and increase risk for later violence and substance use. The current study (a) identified trajectories of CU traits among a large, high-risk sample of adolescent males, (b) examined the relationship between CU traits trajectories and future violence and substance use, and (c) examined whether early CP and executive control moderated the effects of a high CU traits trajectory membership and high CP on violence and substance use. Results indicated that: (a) CU traits could be grouped into three stable trajectories across adolescence, (b) the 'high' CU traits trajectory, particularly in the presence of 'elevated' CP, was related to higher violence and substance use, over and above a variety of environmental risk factors, and (c) the effects the 'high' CU traits trajectory on both violence and substance and in the presence of 'elevated' CP was stronger among youth with high executive control. These findings highlight the utility of identifying subgroups of youth who differ on trajectories of CU traits for understanding the development and maintenance of severe antisocial behavior.
    Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 06/2015; DOI:10.1007/s10802-015-0041-8 · 3.09 Impact Factor
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    • "Children who have behavioural problems and also display the CU trait have patterns of antisocial behaviour that are more severe and stable over time (López-Romero, Romero & Luengo 2011). Furthermore, compared to children with only behavioural problems, children with the CU trait minimise the consequences that their aggression causes their victims, they are not intimidated by the possibility of being punished for bad behaviour, they show less empathy to the emotion of sadness and they are more likely to initiate substance use at an early age (Wymbs et al., 2012). Similar results to those found in boys have shown that girls who display the CU trait together with behavioural problems have more severe and persistent antisocial behaviour than girls who display only conduct disorders (Pardini, Stepp, Hipwell, Stouthamer-Loeber & Loeber, 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Throughout this article we aim to defend the presence of psychopathic traits in child and adolescent population. In psychology there are two fundamental theoretical contributions to the understanding of this disorder in childhood. One focuses on the aspects of antisocial behaviour (Lynam, 1997); and the other highlights the presence of a fundamental characteristic in identifying the disorder, known as the callous unemotional trait (CU, Frick, O'Brien, Wootton & McBurnett, 1994). We also present some of the instruments that are most used in the assessment of child and adolescent psychopathy, as well as some results in the treatment of this disease.
    Papeles del Psicologo 01/2015; 36(2):117-124.
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