Article

Patterns of physical and relational aggression in a school-based sample of boys and girls.

Department of Psychology, University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA 70148, USA.
Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology (Impact Factor: 3.09). 12/2009; 38(4):433-45. DOI:10.1007/s10802-009-9376-3
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The current study investigated the patterns of aggressive behavior displayed in a sample of 282 students in the 4th through 7th grades (M age = 11.28; SD = 1.82). Using cluster analyses, two distinct patterns of physical aggression emerged for both boys and girls with one aggressive cluster showing mild levels of reactive aggression and one group showing high levels of both reactive and proactive aggression. Both aggressive clusters showed problems with anger dysregulation, impulsivity, thrill and adventure seeking, positive outcome expectancies for aggression, and higher rates of bullying. However, the combined cluster was most severe on all of these variables and only the combined aggressive group differed from non-aggressive students on their level of callous-unemotional traits. Similar patterns of findings emerged for relational aggression but only for girls.

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    ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: Callous-unemotional (CU) traits are currently viewed as the defining signs and symptoms of juvenile psychopathy. It is unclear, however, whether CU traits have validity only in the context of conduct disorder (CD) as proposed by Frick and Moffitt (A proposal to the DSM-V childhood disorders and the ADHD and disruptive behavior disorders work groups to include a specifier to the diagnosis of conduct disorder based on the presence of callous-unemotional traits, American Psychiatric Association, Washington, DC, 2010), or also outside CD, either in combination with other forms of psychopathology or as a stand-alone construct. METHODS: The current review systematically studied the existent literature on CU traits in juveniles to examine their validity inside and outside CD according to the framework regarding the validity of a psychiatric diagnosis provided by Robins and Guze (Am J Psychiatry 126:983-987, 1970). RESULTS: Inside youth with conduct problems, and CD specifically, it seems that CU traits meet the Robins and Guze criteria. As many of the reviewed studies included youth with ODD and ADHD as well, there are indications the same might be true for ODD and ADHD, although probably to a lesser extent. In other disorders, CU traits may be present as well, but their role is not firmly established. As stand-alone construct, data are lacking or are scarce on all of the above-mentioned criteria. CONCLUSIONS: CU traits are a useful specifier in CD, and possibly also in disruptive behaviour disorders (DBDs) more generally. High CU traits outside DBDs exist but it is as yet unknown if there is a clinical need for defining CU traits as a stand-alone construct.
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    ABSTRACT: Callous-unemotional traits are believed to be a childhood precursor to psychopathy, and among youth with conduct problems they designate those showing a particularly severe, stable, and aggressive pattern of antisocial behavior. Youth with callous-unemotional traits are a heterogeneous population and, analogous to adults with psychopathy, research suggests that lower anxious primary and high-anxious secondary variants exist. Using a community sample of 2,306 Greek-Cypriot adolescents (M age = 16 years; 49.7 % female), the first aim of the study was to examine whether variants of callous-unemotional traits could be identified using latent profile analysis of scores on measures of callous-unemotional traits, conduct problems, and anxiety. Additional aims of the study were to compare the identified clusters on external measures theorized to distinguish them (i.e., self-esteem, narcissism, impulsivity, sensation seeking and proactive/reactive aggression) and social factors relevant to adolescent development. Results indicated that, in addition to low risk (i.e., low scores on callous-unemotional traits, conduct problems, and anxiety) and anxious (i.e., high scores on anxiety, low scores on callous-unemotional traits and conduct problems) subgroups, two groups of youth scoring high on callous-unemotional traits and conduct problems were identified. High-anxious secondary callous-unemotional variants were distinguished by lower self-esteem in combination with greater narcissism, aggression, and markedly higher conduct problems, whereas lower anxious primary variants showed higher self-esteem. Secondary callous-unemotional variants also reported greater susceptibility to peer pressure and popularity striving than primary variants. Both variants exhibited poorer outcomes relative to low risk and anxious youth, although anxious youth reported lower self-esteem and higher impulsivity and reactive aggression scores in comparison with low risk youth. Findings integrate two lines of inquiry focused on subtyping children and adults with psychopathic traits and antisocial behaviors. They also support the utility of subtyping callous-unemotional traits based on conduct problems and anxiety levels and provide information on common and distinct risk factors associated with primary and secondary callous-unemotional variants in a community sample of adolescent boys and girls.
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    ABSTRACT: Aggressive behavior has been linked to deficient processing of emotional stimulation and recent studies indicate that in aggressive juveniles executive functions are impaired when distressing emotional stimulation is being processed. This study examines the interrelation of distressing emotional stimulation and cognitive control in aggressive adolescents and healthy controls. We combined a color-word Stroop test with pictures from the International Affective Picture System with either neutral or distressing emotional content to assess Stroop interference under neutral and distressing emotional stimulation in 20 male reactive aggressive patients with conduct disorder (CD) and 20 age-matched male control participants. We found impaired Stroop performance under distressing emotional stimulation in patients compared to healthy controls. No difference was present under neutral emotional stimulation. Our results indicate that cognitive control under distressing emotional stimulation was affected in adolescents with CD but not in healthy controls. We conclude that executive functions in reactive aggressive CD patients are more susceptible to the deleterious effects of distressing emotional stimulation. The results provide a possible explanation for pathologic impulsive-aggressive behavior under emotional distress in CD patients. Aggr. Behav. 40:109-119, 2014. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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