Early Childhood Trajectories of Conduct Problems and Callous-Unemotional Traits: The Role of Fearlessness and Psychopathic Personality Dimensions
Fanti, Kostas A.
Colins, Olivier F.
SourceChild Psychiatry & Human Development
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Children with early onset of conduct problems (CP) are at risk for long lasting psychosocial problems, especially if CP co-occurs with callous-unemotional (CU) traits. Joint trajectories of CP and CU traits during early childhood were identified using data from the SOFIA study, following 2031 children longitudinally from ages 3-5 to 5-7 years. The results showed that children exhibiting stable high CP and CU traits were characterized by high levels of fearlessness, and psychopathic traits, including grandiose-deceitfulness, and impulsivity, need for stimulation. Children with decreasing or increasing CP and CU traits were characterized by decreases and increases respectively in their levels of fearlessness and psychopathic traits. Children high on CP and low on CU traits exhibited lower levels of these dimensions. Thus, stability and change of fearlessness and psychopathic traits are associated with stability and change in CP and CU traits, making these temperamental and personality traits promising target candidates for early intervention.