The construct of psychopathy remains underrepresented in the clinical diagnosis of Conduct Disorder (CD) as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition (DSM-5) only addresses one out of the three dimensions of child psychopathy, Callous Unemotional (CU) traits. This study tests if and to what extent there are unique and interactive associations of CU traits, impulsivity and grandiosity with child and adolescent CD symptoms. Data were collected from two separate community samples of children (N=1599; Mage=9.46, SD=1.65; 52% female) and adolescents (N=2719; Mage=16.99, SD=0.99; 49% female), who were followed longitudinally after a year. Hierarchical linear regression analyses were conducted, testing cross-sectional and longitudinal associations with CD symptoms, taking into account all three psychopathy dimensions. The cross-sectional findings indicate that only youth presenting a combination of all three psychopathy dimensions scored above the clinical cut-off score for CD. On the other hand, longitudinal findings provided evidence that the combination of high initial levels of CD and CU traits as well as the combination between CD, grandiosity and impulsivity can lead to clinical levels of future CD symptoms. Findings also indicated that CU traits and impulsivity more strongly predicted adolescent than child CD symptoms, and that CU traits were more strongly associated with boys’ than girls’ CD symptoms. Findings support the inclusion of CU traits as a specifier for the diagnosis of CD, and provide evidence that other psychopathy dimensions can also help clinicians to better understand and treat youth with CD, and should be considered for future revisions of the DSM.
|Journal||Journal of psychopathology and behavioral assessment|
|Early online date||9 Mar 2018|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 9 Mar 2018|
- callous unemotional traits
- conduct disorder