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Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2017;87(1):62-75. doi: 10.1037/ort0000143. Epub 2016 Jan 25.

Stability and change in callous-unemotional traits: Longitudinal associations with potential individual and contextual risk and protective factors.

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Department of Psychology.
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Curium-Leiden University Medical Center.
School of Law, Psychology, and Social Work, Örebro University.


This longitudinal study examines developmental heterogeneity in callous-unemotional (CU) traits in a large sample of school-age children in Cyprus. Latent Class Growth Analysis revealed 4 trajectory groups of CU traits across 3 time points: stable high, increasing, decreasing, and low. Findings suggested that children in the stable high CU trajectory were more likely to (a) exhibit high and stable levels of conduct problems, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms, impulsivity and narcissism, (b) experience low parental involvement and high parental distress, (c) report low peer support and school connectedness, and (d) score lower on academic performance, executive functioning, social competence, and self-regulation compared to children with low, decreasing, and increasing CU traits. These findings were verified by both parent and child reports. Repeated analysis of variance suggested that increases and decreases in CU traits were associated with similar changes in conduct problems, narcissism, impulsivity, and maternal involvement. Further, children in the decreasing trajectory group were not differentiated from children in the low risk group on measures of executive functioning, academic performance, school connectedness, and peer social support at the last wave of measurement. These findings provide evidence for the importance of taking longitudinal change into account for understanding developmental heterogeneity in CU traits and the association of these traits with possible protective (e.g., stable high maternal involvement) and risk (e.g., decreases in maternal involvement and increases in conduct problems, impulsivity and narcissism) variables. (PsycINFO Database Record.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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