Edinburgh Research Explorer

Unique and interactive associations of callous-unemotional traits, impulsivity and narcissism with child and adolescent Conduct Disorder symptoms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related Edinburgh Organisations

Open Access permissions



  • Download as Adobe PDF

    Rights statement: The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10862-018-9655-9

    Accepted author manuscript, 524 KB, PDF document

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
JournalJournal of psychopathology and behavioral assessment
Early online date9 Mar 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Mar 2018


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.

    Research areas

  • callous unemotional traits, impulsivity, grandiosity, conduct disorder, psychopathy, interactions

Download statistics

No data available

ID: 54008317