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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