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13-11-2021 Open Access

Dimensional Latent Structure of Callous-Unemotional Traits in German Adolescents: Results from Taxometric Analyses

Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology
Sören Kliem, Yvonne Krieg, Thimna Klatt, Dirk Baier
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A large amount of research has addressed the issue of the latent status of psychiatric disorders and related phenomena. We used a new taxometric approach developed by Ruscio to examine the latent status of callous-unemotional (CU) traits in a large representative study of German ninth graders (N = 3,878). Rather than estimating a putative taxon base rate and using that estimate to generate the taxon comparative data, we estimated CCFI profiles with each base rate estimate between 2.5% and 97.5% in increments of 2.5%. Results of different indicator sets clearly suggested a dimensional solution. This finding is consistent with different studies showing the dimensionality of psychopathy in adolescents. In summary, the results of this study point to the need for critical reflection in defining a high-risk-group in the context of CU traits. However, further studies are necessary to substantiate this result in different samples using different measurement approaches.

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