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14-06-2016 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 9/2016 Open Access

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 9/2016

Stability Subtypes of Callous–Unemotional Traits and Conduct Disorder Symptoms and Their Correlates

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 9/2016
Hedwig Eisenbarth, Chara A. Demetriou, Melina Nicole Kyranides, Kostas A. Fanti


Callous–unemotional traits and conduct disorder symptoms tend to co-occur across development, with existing evidence pointing to individual differences in the co-development of these problems. The current study identified groups of at risk adolescents showing stable (i.e., high on both conduct disorder and callous–unemotional symptoms, high only on either callous–unemotional or conduct disorder symptoms) or increasing conduct disorder and callous–unemotional symptoms. Data were collected from a sample of 2038 community adolescents between 15 and 18 years (1070 females, M age = 16) of age. A longitudinal design was followed in that adolescent reports were collected at two time points, 1 year apart. Increases in conduct disorder symptoms and callous–unemotional traits were accompanied by increases in anxiety, depressive symptoms, narcissism, proactive and reactive aggression and decreases in self-esteem. Furthermore, adolescents with high and stable conduct disorder symptoms and callous–unemotional traits were consistently at high risk for individual, behavioral and contextual problems. In contrast, youth high on callous–unemotional traits without conduct disorder symptoms remained at low-risk for anxiety, depressive symptoms, narcissism, and aggression, pointing to a potential protective function of pure callous–unemotional traits against the development of psychopathological problems.

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