Stability of psychopathic characteristics in childhood: The influence of social relationships


Journal Article

The current study is a preliminary longitudinal investigation of the stability of psychopathic characteristics, including social relationships as a moderator, within a group of aggressive children (N = 80). Data were collected from the children, their parents, teachers, and peers. Results indicated that the psychopathic characteristics (callous-unemotional traits, impulsive conduct problems, and narcissism) were relatively stable across three time points. Social relationship variables (child self-report of social competence, teacher-rated social competence, and peer-rated social preference) were generally correlated with psychopathic characteristics. Self-report of social competence moderated change from Time 1 to Time 2 narcissism based on parent report. Both peer-rated social preference and teacher-rated social competence moderated change from Time 1 to Time 3 impulsive conduct problems. These results provide preliminary support that psychopathic characteristics are generally stable in aggressive children and that social relationships are a potentially valuable point of intervention when children present with these characteristics. © 2008 American Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Barry, TD; Barry, CT; Deming, AM; Lochman, JE

Published Date

  • February 1, 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 35 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 244 - 262

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1552-3594

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0093-8548

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0093854807310508

Citation Source

  • Scopus