Callous–Unemotional Traits in Predicting the Severity and Stability of Conduct Problems and Delinquency

Department of Psychology, University of New Orleans, Orleans, LA 70148, USA.
Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology (Impact Factor: 3.48). 09/2005; 33(4):471-87. DOI: 10.1007/s10648-005-5728-9
Source: PubMed


The current study tests whether the presence of callous-unemotional (CU) traits designates a group of children with conduct problems who show an especially severe and chronic pattern of conduct problems and delinquency. Ninety-eight children who were selected from a large community screening of school children in grades 3, 4, 6 and 7 were followed across four yearly assessments. Children with conduct problems who also showed CU traits exhibited the highest rates of conduct problems, self-reported delinquency, and police contacts across the four years of the study. In fact, this group accounted for at least half of all of the police contacts reported in the sample across the last three waves of data collection. In contrast, children with conduct problems who did not show CU traits continued to show higher rates of conduct problems across the follow-up assessments compared to non-conduct problem children. However, they did not show higher rates of self-reported delinquency than non-conduct problem children. In fact, the second highest rate of self-reported delinquency in the sample was found for the group of children who were high on CU traits but without conduct problems at the start of the study.

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    • "The CU subscale consists of 6-items (e.g., BI feel bad or guilty when I do something wrong^ and BI am concerned about the feelings of others^) which are scored as 0 (not at all true), 1 (sometimes true), or 2 (definitely true). Scores from the CU subscale of the APSD have demonstrated significant stability over a 3-year period (Muñoz and Frick 2007) and scores from this subscale have been associated with more severe and stable conduct problems and with measures of reduced emotional reactivity (Frick et al. 2005; Kimonis et al. 2006). "
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    ABSTRACT: Bullying is a prevalent problem in schools that is associated with a number of negative outcomes for both the child who bullies and his or her victims. In a community sample of 284 ethnically diverse school-children (54.2 % girls) between the ages of 9 and 14 years (M = 11.28, SD = 1.82), the current study examined whether the level of victimization moderated the association between bullying and several behavioral, social, and emotional characteristics. These characteristics were specifically chosen to integrate research on distinct developmental pathways to conduct problems with research on the characteristics shown by children who bully others. Results indicated that both bullying and victimization were independently associated with conduct problems. However, there was an interaction between bullying and victimization in the prediction of callous-unemotional (CU) traits, such that the association between bullying and CU traits was stronger for those lower on victimization. Further, bullying was positively associated with positive attitudes towards bullying and anger expression and neither of these associations were moderated by the level of victimization. In contrast, bullying was not associated with the child's perceived problems regulating anger, suggesting that children with higher levels of bullying admit to expressing anger but consider this emotional expression as being under their control.
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    • "Aunque no existe consenso sobre la conveniencia de emplear el término psicópata para referirse a adolescentes, motivado fundamentalmente por razones éticas, metodológicas y de desarrollo (Marsee, Silverthorn & Frick, 2005), la relación entre rasgos psicopáticos y problemas de conducta es robusta (Andershed, Gustafson, Kerr & Stattin, 2002; Declercq, Markey, Vandist & Verhaeghe, 2009; Frick, Stickle, Dandreaux , Farrel & Kimonis, 2005; Lynam, Miller, Vachon , Loeber & Stouthamer-Loeber, 2009; Marsee et al., 2005; McMahon, Witkiewitz & Kotler, 2010). A diferencia del trastorno disocial, la psicopatía no pivota únicamente en torno al comportamiento, sino a dimensiones, entre las que sobresalen el narcisismo , insensibilidad emocional e impulsividad, que se toman como predictores de los problemas de conducta (Frick et al., 2005). Sin embargo, desde un punto de vista de la justicia penal, solo los actos delictivos son objeto de intervención, entendiendo por estos aquellos cuya acción constituya un delito con arreglo a la legislación nacional o al derecho internacional. "
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    • "CU traits are used to delineate certain subgroups of individuals demonstrating conduct problems and antisocial behavior (Frick et al. 2005) and aid in our overarching understanding of psychopathy in children and adolescents (Barry et al. 2000). Despite high co-occurrence and overlap, the literature supports a distinction between CU traits, general delinquency, and antisocial behavior as well as Conduct and Oppositional Defiant Disorders (e.g., Dadds et al. 2005). "
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    ABSTRACT: The current study longitudinally examined bidirectional associations between callous-unemotional (CU) traits and parenting dimensions. This study extended the literature by examining whether parental depression moderated these relations in a pre-adolescent sample. Proposed relations were examined using a longitudinal sample of 120 aggressive children (59.6 % male) who were in the 4th grade (M = 10.56 years, SD = 0.56) at baseline and were followed annually over 4 years. A series of generalized estimating equation (GEE) models were used to examine proposed relations. At the first order level, corporal punishment (p < . 001) and poor supervision/monitoring predicted increases in CU traits (p = 0.03) however, the inverse relations were not found. Importantly, parental depression moderated the link between corporal punishment and CU traits. Specifically, at high levels of depression, corporal punishment was predictive of increases in CU traits, but was unrelated to CU traits at low levels of depression. These findings aid in our understanding of the link between corporal punishment and CU traits by highlighting conditions under which certain parenting behaviors have an impact on CU traits, which in turn, may have important intervention implications. Further clinical implications, limitations and future directions are discussed.
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