Etiology of different developmental trajectories of callous-unemotional traits.

Indiana University, USA.
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 6.35). 07/2010; 49(7):656-64. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2010.03.014
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To investigate the longitudinal development of callous-unemotional traits (CU) in middle childhood using developmental trajectory analyses in a large twin dataset and examine the degree to which genetic and environmental influences contributed to the CU trajectory-group membership in children.
The study included 9,462 youths from the Twins Early Development Study, a population-based sample of twins from the United Kingdom. Developmental trajectories were described using teachers' ratings of CU at 7, 9, and 12 years old.
We identified four trajectories of CU through general growth mixture modeling: stable high, increasing, decreasing, and stable low. In most cases, the trajectory-group membership was largely driven by genetic and to a lesser extent by nonshared environmental influences for boys and girls. The most notable exception was a strong contribution of shared environment for the girls in the stable-high trajectory group.
Our findings suggest distinct developmental trajectories of CU from childhood to early adolescence, which are in most cases influenced by genetic factors and, to a lesser degree, by nonshared environmental factors. Highest heritability was observed for boys on a stable-high CU trajectory. Interestingly, the trajectory-group membership for girls on a stable-high CU trajectory appeared to be almost entirely driven by shared environmental influences. These differences in the etiology of stable-high CU in boys and girls have potential implications for clinical practice and studies attempting to identify genetic and environmental risk factors for high CU.

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Available from: Nathalie M. G. Fontaine, Jul 28, 2015
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    • "and .15 for boys and girls, respectively, p = ns) from ages 16 to 19. Fontaine et al. (2010) identified trajectories of CU traits among a large sample (n = 9462) of twins from the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS) based on teacher ratings of CU traits at ages 7, 9, and 12. They identified four trajectories of CU traits (high stable, increasing, decreasing, and low stable). "
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    ABSTRACT: Recent research has suggested that the presence of significant levels of callous-unemotional (CU) traits designates a clinically important and etiologically distinct subgroup of children and adolescents with serious conduct problems. Based on this research, CU traits have been included in the most recent revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - 5th Edition (DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013) - as a specifier for the diagnosis of conduct disorder. In this review, we attempt to understand CU traits within a developmental psychopathological framework. Specifically, we summarize research on the normal development of the prosocial emotions of empathy and guilt (i.e., conscience) and we illustrate how the development of CU traits can be viewed as the normal development of conscience gone awry. Furthermore, we review research on the stability of CU traits across different developmental periods and highlight factors that can influence this stability. Finally, we highlight the implications of this developmental psychopathological framework for future etiological research, for assessment and diagnostic classification, and for treatment of children with serious conduct problems.
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    • "Individual variability and change over time have been reported in psychopathic traits (e.g., Blonigen et al., 2006; Fontaine et al., 2010), suggesting that these traits may be malleable in some individuals. Indeed, intensive, customized treatment described by Caldwell, Skeem, Salekin, and van Rybroek (2006) has led to significant reductions in violent recidivism. "
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    • "importance of identifying those with C/U before the conduct problems and aggression become too severe is critical. This assumes greater importance given there is evidence of malleability of levels of C/U traits during adolescence (Fontaine et al. 2010). Distinguishing between those characterised by childhood onset severe conduct problems and those by adolescent onset could help understand the developmental processes involved (Roose et al. 2011) and allow for preventive intervention (Frick and White 2008). "
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