Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment

, 31:285

First online:

Linking Callous-Unemotional Traits to Instrumental and Non-Instrumental Forms of Aggression

  • Kostas A. FantiAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Cyprus Email author 
  • , Paul J. FrickAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of New Orleans
  • , Stelios GeorgiouAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Cyprus

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The current study investigated the relation of callous-unemotional (CU) traits to bullying, victimization, and proactive and reactive aggression. We also examined whether CU traits will be more strongly related to groups of children exhibiting combined or pure forms of proactive and reactive aggression and combined or pure forms of bullying and victimization. The findings suggested that the presence of CU traits, which consists of three dimensions of behavior, uncaring, callousness, and unemotional, may designate important subgroups of aggressive children. Evidence suggested that the adolescents characterized by higher levels of CU traits were more likely to exhibit combined proactive and reactive aggression in comparison to pure forms of proactive or reactive aggression. Additionally, bullies scored higher on the uncaring dimension, and bully-victims (adolescents exhibiting both bullying and victimization) scored higher on the callous dimension. In contrast, victims of bullying scored lower on the uncaring dimension of behavior.


Callous-unemotional traits Proactive aggression Reactive aggression Bullying Victimization Co-occurrence