The prospective usefulness of callous-unemotional traits and conduct disorder in predicting treatment engagement among detained girls
AuthorColins, Olivier F.
van Damme, Lore
Fanti, Kostas A.
SourceEuropean child & adolescent psychiatry
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Although treatment engagement (TE) is crucial for treatment success it is not well known how likely detained girls are to engage in treatment and what features may impede them from doing so. This study is the first to examine the prognostic usefulness of two features of potential interest, being callous-unemotional (CU) traits and conduct disorder (CD), in relation to TE. Detained girls and their parents (n = 75) were interviewed with the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children to assess CD, and completed the Antisocial Process Screening Device to assess CU traits dimensionally and categorically as in the new diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5) CU-based specifier. One to two months later, the girls reported how much they engaged in treatment. At the zero-order level, self-, but not parent-reported CU traits and CD were predictive of lower levels of TE. The incorporation of CU traits into a diagnosis of CD identified girls with lower levels of future TE, a finding that held across different informants. Of note, the aforementioned findings only became apparent when using a dimensional measure of CU traits, and not when using the categorical measure of CU traits currently included in DSM-5. This study showed that CU traits can help developing an understanding of what factors hinder TE among detained girls. Our findings also support recommendations to incorporate CU traits into the CD diagnosis, and suggest that dimensional approaches to do so may yield relevant information about future levels of TE.