Establishing cut-off scores for the parent-reported inventory of callous-unemotional traits.
AuthorKimonis, Eva R.
Fanti, Kostas A.
Singh, J. P.
SourceArchives of Forensic Psychology
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Callous-unemotional (CU) traits (i.e., lack of empathy/guilt/concern for others) have proven useful for identifying a unique subgroup of antisocial youths at risk for severe, persistent, and impairing conduct problems attributed to distinct etiological processes. Several tools for measuring CU traits alone or as part of a broader assessment of psychopathy exist but none have established cut-off scores for making categorical decisions about youth. The aim of the present study was to establish clinically meaningful cut-off scores on the parent-reported Inventory of Callous-Unemotional Traits (ICU) for the purpose of identifying children with high stable co-occurring conduct problems (CP) and CU traits (CP+CU), while balancing costs of false positives and false negatives. Participants included 1,370 school-aged (Mage = 9.38, SDage = 1.64 at baseline) boys and girls followed prospectively over 18 months. Several statistical indices were applied to establish optimal cut-off scores for identifying those 2.3% of children on a trajectory of high stable co-occurring CP+CU according to latent class growth analyses. Results indicated that children who scored at or above the identified ICU cut-off scores (24 for mother-report and 27 for father-report) were significantly more likely to engage in future self-reported bullying compared to children who scored below the thresholds. With encouraging evidence for the success of nuanced treatments for children with CP+CU, these findings may assist in screening children that might benefit from them.