Callous/unemotional traits and social-cognitive processes in adjudicated youths.


Journal Article

OBJECTIVE: There seem to be two dimensions associated with psychopathic traits in youths: a callous/unemotional factor (C/U) and an impulsivity/conduct problems factor (I/CP). This study sought to clarify the nature of these two factors and examine their relation with social-cognitive problems in incarcerated adolescents. METHOD: One hundred sixty-nine male and female adjudicated youths were recruited for participation. Self-report measures and archival data were used to assess psychopathic traits, emotional distress, behavioral dysregulation, social-cognitive processes, and delinquency severity. RESULTS: Analyses demonstrated that the I/CP factor is associated with increased levels of dysregulated behavior, while the C/U dimension is related to deficits in empathy. The two factors exhibited differential relations with measures of emotional distress and fearfulness. C/U traits were associated with an increased focus on the positive aspects of aggression and a decreased focus on the negative aspects of hostile acts. Findings remained after controlling for demographic characteristics, abuse history, intellectual abilities, and delinquency severity. CONCLUSIONS: Results provide support for the two-dimensional nature of psychopathy in youths and suggest that C/U traits are associated with lower emotional distress and a specific social information-processing pattern. The potential implications for working with adjudicated youths exhibiting C/U traits are noted.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Pardini, DA; Lochman, JE; Frick, PJ

Published Date

  • March 2003

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 42 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 364 - 371

PubMed ID

  • 12595791

Pubmed Central ID

  • 12595791

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1527-5418

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0890-8567

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/00004583-200303000-00018


  • eng