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Attention, autonomic arousal, and personality in behaviorally disordered children


This study assessed the construct validity of the Revised Behavior Problem Checklist (RBPC) by measuring attention, autonomie arousal, and personality in 40 behaviorally disordered children aged 7 to 15 years. Conduct Disorder and Socialized Aggression subscales were characterized by high Psychoticism, Impulsivity, and Lie personality scores, by lower heart rate levels, and by more errors on a continuous performance reaction-time task. Conversely, Attention Problems, Anxiety Withdrawal, and Motor Excess were characterized by greater variability in reaction times. Conduct Disorder alone was related to an external locus of control, while only Attention Problems was characterized by low scores on the WISC Freedom from Distraction factor. These differential relationships suggest (a) support for the construct validity of the RBPC, (b) that antisocial behavior and hyperactivity/attention deficits are dissociated disorders, and (c) that hyperactivity/attention deficits may be characterized by fluctuations in the allocation of attentional resources rather than a core structural deficit in attention.

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Correspondence to Adrian Raine.

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Raine, A., Jones, F. Attention, autonomic arousal, and personality in behaviorally disordered children. J Abnorm Child Psychol 15, 583–599 (1987).

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  • Antisocial Behavior
  • Attentional Resource
  • Conduct Disorder
  • Attention Problem
  • Lower Heart Rate