Antisocial behavior from a developmental psychopathology perspective

Department of Psychology, University of New Orleans, 2001 Geology and Psychology Building, New Orleans, LA 70148, USA.
Development and Psychopathology (Impact Factor: 4.89). 11/2009; 21(4):1111-31. DOI: 10.1017/S0954579409990071
Source: PubMed


This paper reviews research on chronic patterns of antisocial behavior and places this research into a developmental psychopathology framework. Specifically, research suggests that there are at least three important pathways through which children and adolescents can develop severe antisocial behaviors. One group of youth shows antisocial behavior that begins in adolescence, and two groups show antisocial behavior that begins in childhood but differ on the presence or absence of callous-unemotional traits. In outlining these distinct pathways to antisocial behavior, we have tried to illustrate some key concepts from developmental psychopathology such as equifinality and multifinality, the importance of understanding the interface between normal and abnormal development, and the importance of using multiple levels of analyses to advance causal theories. Finally, we discuss how this development model can be used to enhance existing interventions for antisocial individuals.

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    • "A second child characteristic that is thought to be important to the development of externalizing behavior, particularly CU behavior, is a low fearful or inhibited temperament. A large body of literature suggests that optimal levels of fear and shyness (i.e., an optimal normative level of temperamental anxiety) are conducive to the development of conscience (Kochanska, Gross, Lin, & Nichols, 2002) and the inhibition of aggression (Frick & Viding, 2009) due to the discomfort felt after wrongdoing and the modulatory effect of fear on disinhibition associated with externalizing behavior. Thus, normative levels of arousal and anxiety, which could be assessed with temperament measures such as fear and shyness (i.e., behavioral inhibition), could inhibit future aggressive or rule-breaking behavior (Lahey & Waldman, 2003; Patrick, Fowles, & Krueger, 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Childhood externalizing problems are more likely to be severe and persistent when combined with high levels of callous-unemotional (CU) behavior. A handful of recent studies have shown that CU behavior can also be reliably measured in the early preschool years, which may help to identify young children who are less likely to desist from early externalizing behaviors. The current study extends previous literature by examining the role of CU behavior in very early childhood in the prediction of externalizing problems in both middle and late childhood, and tests whether other relevant child characteristics, including Theory-of-Mind (ToM) and fearful/inhibited temperament moderate these pathways. Multi-method data, including parent reports of child CU behavior and fearful/inhibited temperament, observations of ToM, and teacher-reported externalizing problems were drawn from a prospective, longitudinal study of children assessed at ages 3, 6, and 10 (N = 241; 48 % female). Results demonstrated that high levels of CU behavior predicted externalizing problems at ages 6 and 10 over and above the effect of earlier externalizing problems at age 3, but that these main effects were qualified by two interactions. High CU behavior was related to higher levels of externalizing problems specifically for children with low ToM and a low fearful/inhibited temperament. The results show that a multitude of child characteristics likely interact across development to increase or buffer risk for child externalizing problems. These findings can inform the development of targeted early prevention and intervention for children with high CU behavior.
    Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 11/2015; DOI:10.1007/s10802-015-0099-3 · 3.09 Impact Factor
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    • "Item scores are summed to form a total score which demonstrated adequate internal consistency in the current study (α = .82). Previous research has verified the validity of the ICU in community samples of adolescents and young adults (Byrd, Kahn, & Pardini, 2013; Fanti, Panayiotou, Lombardo, et al., 2015; Fanti, Frick, & Georgiou, 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: The current study adds to prior research by investigating specific (happiness, sadness, surprise, disgust, anger and fear) and general (corrugator and zygomatic muscle activity) facial reactions to violent and comedy films among individuals with varying levels of callous-unemotional (CU) traits and impulsive aggression (IA). Participants at differential risk of CU traits and IA were selected from a sample of 1225 young adults. In Experiment 1, participants (N = 82) facial expressions were recorded while they watched violent and comedy films. Video footage of participants' facial expressions was analysed using FaceReader, a facial coding software that classifies facial reactions. Findings suggested that individuals with elevated CU traits showed reduced facial reactions of sadness and disgust to violent films, indicating low empathic concern in response to victims' distress. In contrast, impulsive aggressors produced specifically more angry facial expressions when viewing violent and comedy films. In Experiment 2 (N = 86), facial reactions were measured by monitoring facial electromyography activity. FaceReader findings were verified by the reduced facial electromyography at the corrugator, but not the zygomatic, muscle in response to violent films shown by individuals high in CU traits. Additional analysis suggested that sympathy to victims explained the association between CU traits and reduced facial reactions to violent films.
    Cognition and Emotion 10/2015; DOI:10.1080/02699931.2015.1090958 · 2.52 Impact Factor
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    • "We took the decision to recruit a representative sample of children with CP as opposed to recruiting a fully matched sample which would likely have been unrepresentative in unpredictable ways. It is also worth noting that there is a strong theoretical basis to the idea that CU traits are a contributing explanatory factor for more severe conduct problem symptoms (Frick and Viding 2009 "
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    ABSTRACT: Genetic, behavioural and functional neuroimaging studies have revealed that different vulnerabilities characterise children with conduct problems and high levels of callous-unemotional traits (CP/HCU) compared with children with conduct problems and low callous-unemotional traits (CP/LCU). We used voxel-based morphometry to study grey matter volume (GMV) in 89 male participants (aged 10-16), 60 of whom exhibited CP. The CP group was subdivided into CP/HCU (n = 29) and CP/LCU (n = 31). Whole-brain and regional GMV were compared across groups (CP vs. typically developing (TD) controls (n = 29); and CP/HCU vs. CP/LCU vs. TD). Whole-brain analyses showed reduced GMV in left middle frontal gyrus in the CP/HCU group compared with TD controls. Region-of-interest analyses showed reduced volume in bilateral orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) in the CP group as a whole compared with TD controls. Reduced volume in left OFC was found to be driven by the CP/HCU group only, with significant reductions relative to both TD controls and the CP/LCU group, and no difference between these latter two groups. Within the CP group left OFC volume was significantly predicted by CU traits, but not conduct disorder symptoms. Reduced right anterior cingulate cortex volume was also found in CP/HCU compared with TD controls. Our results support previous findings indicating that GMV differences in brain regions central to decision-making and empathy are implicated in CP. However, they extend these data to suggest that some of these differences might specifically characterise the subgroup with CP/HCU, with GMV reduction in left OFC differentiating children with CP/HCU from those with CP/LCU.
    Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 09/2015; DOI:10.1007/s10802-015-0073-0 · 3.09 Impact Factor
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