, Volume 32, Issue 5, pp 535-550

Psychopathic Traits in Boys With and Without Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Concurrent and Longitudinal Correlates

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Abstract

To investigate the role of psychopathic traits in a clinical and comparison sample, we obtained dimensional California Child Q-Set (CCQ) personality profiles for 66 preadolescent boys with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and 56 comparison boys during naturalistic summer programs and correlated each boy's CCQ profile with an expert-derived CCQ psychopathy prototype. These scores, representing each boy's degree of similarity to the prototype, were significantly associated with concurrent externalizing diagnoses and symptoms and, with statistical control of these externalizing features, concurrent measures of objectively observed noncompliance, overt and covert antisocial behavior, and peer sociometric nominations indexing peer rejection. Psychopathic traits were not associated with peer acceptance. CCQ psychopathy dimension scores also predicted severity of delinquency at a 5–7-year prospective follow-up, with statistical control of age, baseline externalizing diagnoses and symptoms, and baseline objective observations of antisocial behavior. Predictions held when overt behavioral items from the CCQ, which may have overlapped with the delinquency outcome criterion, were eliminated. Despite these strong effects, a plethora of false positives were evident in the prospective predictions to delinquency status. We discuss research and clinical implications of measuring psychopathic traits in childhood.