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ScientificWorldJournal. 2013 Nov 4;2013:826108. doi: 10.1155/2013/826108. eCollection 2013.

Conduct symptoms and emotion recognition in adolescent boys with externalization problems.

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Vadaskert Child Psychiatry Hospital, 5 Lipotmezei Street, Budapest 1021, Hungary ; School of Ph.D. Studies, Semmelweis University, 26 Ulloi Street, Budapest 1085, Hungary.



In adults with antisocial personality disorder, marked alterations in the recognition of facial affect were described. Less consistent data are available on the emotion recognition in adolescents with externalization problems. The aim of the present study was to assess the relation between the recognition of emotions and conduct symptoms in adolescent boys with externalization problems.


Adolescent boys with externalization problems referred to Vadaskert Child Psychiatry Hospital participated in the study after informed consent (N = 114, 11-17 years, mean = 13.4). The conduct problems scale of the strengths and difficulties questionnaire (parent and self-report) was used. The performance in a facial emotion recognition test was assessed.


Conduct problems score (parent and self-report) was inversely correlated with the overall emotion recognition. In the self-report, conduct problems score was inversely correlated with the recognition of anger, fear, and sadness. Adolescents with high conduct problems scores were significantly worse in the recognition of fear, sadness, and overall recognition than adolescents with low conduct scores, irrespective of age and IQ.


Our results suggest that impaired emotion recognition is dimensionally related to conduct problems and might have importance in the development of antisocial behavior.

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