Individual, Social, and Behavioral Factors Associated with Co-Occurring Conduct Problems and Callous-Unemotional Traits
AuthorFanti, Kostas A.
SourceJournal of abnormal child psychology
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Conduct problems (CP) and callous-unemotional (CU) traits can have a long-lasting negative impact into adulthood. Importantly, among youth with CP, those high on CU traits engage in a more severe, aggressive, and persistent pattern of antisocial behavior. The current study investigates the co-occurrence between CP and CU traits among a large sample of Greek-Cypriot adolescents (N = 1,674; 50.1 % girls). Five distinct groups were identified with Latent Profile Analysis: low risk (48.7 %), average risk (33.8 %), co-occurring high CP-high CU (5.4 %), high CP-low CU (5.2 %), and low CP-high CU (6.9 %). Although more boys were identified in the higher risk groups, boys and girls within each group were not differentiated on levels of CP or CU traits during early adolescence. Youth in the identified groups were compared on early (Mean age = 12.12) and middle (Mean age = 14.02) adolescence individual and contextual factors. Youth with high CP-high CU were at higher risk for behavioral (bullying and substance use), individual (inattention, impulsivity, narcissism), and contextual (low family-support) problems compared to youth in the high CP-low CU and low CP-high CU groups, providing evidence that the combination of CP and CU traits might constitute a pathological group. These findings demonstrate the usefulness of sub-typing CP based on CU traits for the forthcoming fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Additional novel findings suggested that adolescents scoring high on CP, irrespective of CU, were not differentiated on hyperactivity, victimization, and anxiety/depression, and adolescents scoring high on CU traits, with or without CP, reported similar low levels of self-esteem and peer and family social-support.