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Psychol Med. 2011 Mar;41(3):589-600. doi: 10.1017/S0033291710000966. Epub 2010 May 20.

Psychopathic personality in children: genetic and environmental contributions.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-1061, USA. bezdjian@usc.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The current study investigates whether the underlying factor structure of psychopathic personality traits found in adults is similar to that in children and what the extent of the genetic and environmental influences are on these psychopathic traits.

METHOD:

Psychopathic personality traits were assessed in a community sample of 1219 twins and triplets (age 9-10 years) through caregiver reports of each child's behavior using the Child Psychopathy Scale (CPS).

RESULTS:

Confirmatory factor analyses revealed an optimal two-factor solution (callous/disinhibited and manipulative/deceitful) to the CPS subscales. Bivariate genetic modeling of the two computed factor scores revealed significant genetic as well as unique environmental influences on psychopathic personality traits in both boys and girls, with heritability estimates of 0.64 and 0.46, respectively, in boys and 0.49 and 0.58, respectively, in girls. No shared environmental influences on psychopathic personality traits were found.

CONCLUSIONS:

The relationship between the two factors was mediated by both genetic and unique environmental factors common to both traits.

PMID:
20482945
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3113684
Free PMC Article
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