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12-10-2016 | Original Article | Uitgave 4/2017 Open Access

Child Psychiatry & Human Development 4/2017

Callous-Unemotional Traits Moderate the Relation Between Prenatal Testosterone (2D:4D) and Externalising Behaviours in Children

Tijdschrift:
Child Psychiatry & Human Development > Uitgave 4/2017
Auteurs:
Alyson Blanchard, Luna C. Munoz Centifanti

Abstract

Children who exhibit callous-unemotional (CU) traits are identified as developing particularly severe forms of externalising behaviours (EB). A number of risk factors have been identified in the development of CU traits, including biological, physiological, and genetic factors. However, prenatal testosterone (PT) remains un-investigated, yet could signal fetal programming of a combination of CU/EB. Using the 2D:4D digit ratio, the current study examined whether CU traits moderated the relationship between PT and EB. Hand scans were obtained from 79 children aged between 5 and 6 years old whose parents completed the parent report ICU (Inventory of Callous Unemotional Traits) and SDQ (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire). CU traits were found to moderate the relationship between PT and EB so that children who were exposed to increased PT and were higher in CU traits exhibited more EB. Findings emphasize the importance of recognising that vulnerability for EB that is accompanied by callousness may arise before birth.

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