Which dimension of parenting predicts the change of callous unemotional traits in children with disruptive behavior disorder?
Several studies suggested that in addition to child-driven factors (i.e., temperamental style), parenting behavior can, at least in part, influence the maintenance of Callous Unemotional (CU) traits in children; however, more information is needed to distinguish which styles (negative parenting or lack of positive parenting) predict increased levels of CU traits. The aim of the present treatment study was to examine which components of parenting are longitudinally associated with levels of CU traits in children with a disruptive behavior disorder diagnosis.The current study examined cross-lagged reciprocal effects models between positive and negative parenting practices, and the levels of child CU traits over three time points, including both positive and negative dimensions of parenting in the same model. Participants were 126 Italian children with diagnosis of disruptive behavior disorder (oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder), 113 boys and 13 girls, 110 Caucasian, 48 with conduct disorder, and 78 with oppositional defiant disorder, treated with a multi-component intervention, based on cognitive behavioral principles and practices. Participants were all 9-10 years of age at the beginning of the study, and were followed-up until the age of 11-12 years (24 months in total, the first 12 under treatment) using parent report (Alabama Parenting Questionnaire and Child Behavior Check List) and child report (Inventory of Callous-Unemotional Traits) measures.No significant cross-lagged path was found between negative parenting and CU traits; these two variables were also unrelated when positive parenting was considered in the same model. In contrast, reciprocal effects between positive parenting and CU were found: higher levels of positive parenting predicted lower levels of CU traits.The current findings suggest that the positive dimension of parenting may need to be targeted in the treatment of DBD children with higher CU traits.
Muratori, P; Lochman, JE; Lai, E; Milone, A; Nocentini, A; Pisano, S; Righini, E; Masi, G
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