Disentangling the underlying dimensions of psychopathy and conduct problems in childhood: A community study

Mark R. Dadds*, Aaron Frost, Jenny Fraser, David J. Hawes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

263 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The psychometric and predictive validity of callous-unemotional (CU) traits as an early precursor of conduct disorder and antisocial behavior were assessed. A community sample of children (4-9 years of age) were tested 12 months apart with the Antisocial Process Screening Device (APSD; P. J. Frick & R. D. Hare, 2002), a measure of early signs of psychopathy in children. Factor analysis supported the structure of the APSD. Given controversy surrounding construct overlap between psychopathy and conduct problems, a factor analysis was conducted on pooled items from the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire and APSD. A 5-factor solution resulted: antisocial, hyperactivity, CU traits, anxiety, and peer problems. CU traits added small but significant improvements in the 12-month prediction of antisocial behavior for boys and older girls, after controlling for Time 1 measures. These results indicate that although the dimensions of the APSD overlap with dimensions of the disruptive behavior disorders, CU traits have unique predictive validity in childhood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)400-410
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of consulting and clinical psychology
Volume73
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes

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