Advertisement

Variants of Children with Psychopathic Tendencies in a Community Sample

  • Jiasheng Huang
  • Linlin Fan
  • Kexiu Lin
  • Yuyin WangEmail author
Original Article
  • 18 Downloads

Abstract

To investigate the heterogeneity of children with psychopathic tendencies, this study identified heterogenous subgroups among a community sample of children based on their callous-unemotional (CU) traits, conduct problems (CP), and anxiety. A latent profile analysis classified 1861 primary school students (age 6–14) into four subgroups based on parent-report CU traits, CP and anxiety: low-risk children (i.e., low in CU traits, CP, and anxiety), anxious children (i.e., high in anxiety, low in CU traits and CP), primary variants of children with psychopathic tendencies (i.e., high in CU traits and CP, low in anxiety), and secondary variants of children with psychopathic tendencies (i.e., high in CU traits, CP, and anxiety). In particular, the secondary variants evidenced higher levels of CU traits, CP, and anxiety than the primary variants. Our findings extend the heterogeneity of psychopathy to childhood and encourage future research to examine the developmental trajectories of psychopathy.

Keywords

Callous-unemotional traits Conduct problems Anxiety Primary psychopath Secondary psychopath 

Notes

Funding

This study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31700961); and the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province, China (2017A030310423).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

References

  1. 1.
    Hare RD, Neumann CS (2009) Psychopathy: assessment and forensic implications. Can J Psychiatry 54:791–802PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Blair RJR, Colledge E, Murray L, Mitchell D (2001) A selective impairment in the processing of sad and fearful expressions in children with psychopathic tendencies. J Abnorm Child Psychol 29:491–498PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Rutter M (2012) Psychopathy in childhood: is it a meaningful diagnosis? Br J Psychiatry 200:175–176PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Docherty M, Boxer P, Huesmann LR et al (2016) Exploring primary and secondary variants of psychopathy in adolescents in detention and in the community. J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol 45:564–578PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Fanti KA, Demetriou CA, Kimonis ER (2013) Variants of callous-unemotional conduct problems in a community sample of adolescents. J Youth Adolesc 42:964–979PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Kimonis ER, Frick PJ, Cauffman E et al (2012) Primary and secondary variants of juvenile psychopathy differ in emotional processing. Dev Psychopathol 24:1091–1103PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Kahn RE, Frick PJ, Golmaryami FN, Marsee MA (2017) The moderating role of anxiety in the associations of callous-unemotional traits with self-report and laboratory measures of affective and cognitive empathy. J Abnorm Child Psychol 45:583–596PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kahn RE, Frick PJ, Youngstrom EA et al (2013) Distinguishing primary and secondary variants of callous-unemotional traits among adolescents in a clinic-referred sample. Psychol Assess 25:966–978PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Kimonis ER, Fanti KA, Goulter N, Hall J (2017) Affective startle potentiation differentiates primary and secondary variants of juvenile psychopathy. Dev Psychopathol 29:1149–1160PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Olver ME, Sewall LA, Sarty GE et al (2015) A cluster analytic examination and external validation of psychopathic offender subtypes in a multisite sample of Canadian federal offenders. J Abnorm Psychol 124:355–371PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Frick PJ, Cornell AH, Barry CT et al (2003) Callous-unemotional traits and conduct problems in the prediction of conduct problem severity, aggression, and self-report of delinquency. J Abnorm Child Psychol 31:457–470PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Frick PJ, Ray JV, Thornton LC, Kahn RE (2014) Can callous-unemotional traits enhance the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of serious conduct problems in children and adolescents? A comprehensive review. Psychol Bull 140:1–57PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    McMahon RJ, Wells KC, Kotler JS (2006) Conduct Problems. In: Mash EJ, Barkley RA (eds) Treatment of childhood disorders, 3rd edn. Guilford Press, New York, pp 137–268Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Frick PJ (2009) Extending the construct of psychopathy to youth: implications for understanding, diagnosing, and treating antisocial children and adolescents. Can J Psychiatry 54:803–812PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Fanti KA (2013) Individual, social, and behavioral factors associated with co-occurring conduct problems and callous-unemotional traits. J Abnorm Child Psychol 41:811–824PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    American Psychiatric Association (2013) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 5th edn. American Psychiatric Publishing Inc, Washington, DCCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Herpers PC, Scheepers FE, Bons DM et al (2014) The cognitive and neural correlates of psychopathy and especially callous–unemotional traits in youths: a systematic review of the evidence. Dev Psychopathol 26:245–273PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Andrade BF, Sorge GB, Na JJ, Wharton-Shukster E (2015) Clinical profiles of children with disruptive behaviors based on the severity of their conduct problems, callous-unemotional traits and emotional difficulties. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev 46:567–576PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Karpman B (1941) On the need of separating psychopathy into two distinct clinical types: the symptomatic and the idiopathic. J Crim Psychopathol 3:112–137Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Arieti S (1963) Psychopathic personality: some views on its psychopathology and psychodynamics. Compr Psychiatry 4:301–312PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Hicks BM, Markon KE, Patrick CJ et al (2004) Identifying psychopathy subtypes on the basis of personality structure. Psychol Assess 16:276–288PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Lykken DT (1995) The antisocial personalities. Psychology Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Mealey L (1995) The sociobiology of sociopathy: an integrated evolutionary model. Behav Brain Sci 18:523–541CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Falkenbach D, Poythress N, Creevy C (2008) The exploration of subclinical psychopathic subtypes and the relationship with types of aggression. Pers Individ Differ 44:821–832CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Rosan A, Frick PJ, Gottlieb KA, Fasicaru L (2015) Callous-unemotional traits and anxiety in a sample of detained adolescents in Romania. J Evid Based Psychother 15:79–95Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Kimonis ER, Skeem JL, Cauffman E, Dmitrieva J (2011) Are secondary variants of juvenile psychopathy more reactively violent and less psychosocially mature than primary variants? Law Hum Behav 35:381–391PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Blagov PS, Patrick CJ, Lilienfeld SO et al (2011) Personality constellations in incarcerated psychopathic men. Pers Disord Theory Res Treat 2:293–315CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Blair RJR (2013) The neurobiology of psychopathic traits in youths. Nat Rev Neurosci 14:786–799PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Goldin PR, Manber T, Hakimi S et al (2009) Neural bases of social anxiety disorder: emotional reactivity and cognitive regulation during social and physical threat. Arch Gen Psychiatry 66:170–180PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Arnett PA, Smith SS, Newman JP (1997) Approach and avoidance motivation in psychopathic criminal offenders during passive avoidance. J Pers Soc Psychol 72:1413–1428PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Sutton SK, Vitale JE, Newman JP (2002) Emotion among women with psychopathy during picture perception. J Abnorm Psychol 111:610–619PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Lorenz AR, Newman JP (2002) Deficient response modulation and emotion processing in low-anxious Caucasian psychopathic offenders: results from a lexical decision task. Emotion 2:91–104PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Blackburn R (1987) Two scales for the assessment of personality disorder in antisocial populations. Pers Individ Differ 8:81–93.  https://doi.org/10.1016/0191-8869(87)90014-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Euler F, Jenkel N, Stadler C et al (2015) Variants of girls and boys with conduct disorder: anxiety symptoms and callous-unemotional traits. J Abnorm Child Psychol 43:773–785PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Vassileva J, Kosson DS, Abramowitz C, Conrod P (2005) Psychopathy versus psychopathies in classifying criminal offenders. Leg Criminol Psychol 10:27–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Poythress NG, Edens JF, Skeem JL et al (2010) Identifying subtypes among offenders with antisocial personality disorder: a cluster-analytic study. J Abnorm Psychol 119:389–400PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Lee Z, Salekin RT, Iselin A-MR (2010) Psychopathic traits in youth: is there evidence for primary and secondary subtypes? J Abnorm Child Psychol 38:381–393PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Flexon JL (2016) Callous-unemotional traits and differently motivated aggression: an examination of variants in a noninstitutionalized sample. Youth Violence Juv Justice 14:367–389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Vaughn MG, Edens JF, Howard MO, Smith ST (2009) An investigation of primary and secondary psychopathy in a statewide sample of incarcerated youth. Youth Violence and Juvenile. Youth Violence Juv Justice 7:172–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Blackburn R, Logan C, Donnelly JP, Renwick SJD (2008) Identifying psychopathic subtypes: combining an empirical personality classification of offenders With The Psychopathy Checklist-Revised. J Pers Disord 22:604–622PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Sethi A, McCrory E, Puetz V et al (2018) Primary and secondary variants of psychopathy in a volunteer sample are associated with different neurocognitive mechanisms. Biol Psychiatry Cogn Neurosci Neuroimaging 3:1013–1021PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Office of Population and Employment of Guangdong Province (2013) Educational levels of the employed population in Guangdong Province. http://www.gdstats.gov.cn/tjzl/tjfx/201306/t20130618_122622.html. Accessed 11 Sep 2019
  43. 43.
    Sawyer SM, Azzopardi PS, Wickremarathne D, Patton GC (2018) The age of adolescence. Lancet Child Adolesc Health 2:223–228PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Dadds MR, Fraser J, Frost A, Hawes DJ (2005) Disentangling the underlying dimensions of psychopathy and conduct problems in childhood: a community study. J Consult Clin Psychol 73:400–410PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Hawes DJ, Dadds MR, Frost AD, Hasking PA (2011) Do childhood callous-unemotional traits drive change in parenting practices? J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol 40:507–518PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Dadds MR, Gale N, Godbee M et al (2016) Expression and regulation of attachment-related emotions in children with conduct problems and callous-unemotional traits. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev 47:647–656PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Pasalich DS, Dadds MR, Hawes DJ, Brennan J (2012) Attachment and callous-unemotional traits in children with early-onset conduct problems. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 53:838–845PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Bauer DJ, Curran PJ (2004) The integration of continuous and discrete latent variable models: potential problems and promising opportunities. Psychol Methods 9:3–29PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Lo Y, Mendell NR, Rubin DB (2001) Testing the number of components in a normal mixture. Biometrika 88:767–778CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Weisberg S (2005) Applied linear regression. Wiley, New JerseyCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Muthén B (2000) Methodological issues in random coefficient growth modeling using a latent variable framework: applications to the development of heavy drinking. In: Rose Jennifer S, Chassin Laurie, Presson Clark C, Sherman Steven J (eds) Multivariate applications in substance use research. Psychology Press, New York, pp 113–140Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Dahl RE, Gunnar MR (2009) Heightened stress responsiveness and emotional reactivity during pubertal maturation: implications for psychopathology. Dev Psychopathol 21:1–6PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Silvers JA, McRae K, Gabrieli JDE et al (2012) Age-related differences in emotional reactivity, regulation, and rejection sensitivity in adolescence. Emotion 12:1235–1247PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Frick PJ, Kimonis ER, Dandreaux DM, Farell JM (2003) The 4 year stability of psychopathic traits in non-referred youth. Behav Sci Law 21:713–736PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Fontaine NMG, McCrory EJP, Boivin M et al (2011) Predictors and outcomes of joint trajectories of callous–unemotional traits and conduct problems in childhood. J Abnorm Psychol 120:730–742PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Wall TD, Frick PJ, Fanti KA et al (2016) Factors differentiating callous-unemotional children with and without conduct problems. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 57:976–983PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Dadds MR, Kimonis ER, Schollar-Root O et al (2018) Are impairments in emotion recognition a core feature of callous–unemotional traits? Testing the primary versus secondary variants model in children. Dev Psychopathol 30:67–77PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Mokros A, Hare RD, Neumann CS et al (2015) Variants of psychopathy in adult male offenders: a latent profile analysis. J Abnorm Psychol 124:372–386PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Waller R, Gardner F, Hyde LW (2013) What are the associations between parenting, callous–unemotional traits, and antisocial behavior in youth? A systematic review of evidence. Clin Psychol Rev 33:593–608PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Patterson GR, Yoerger K (2002) A developmental model for early-and late-onset delinquency. In: Reid JB, Patterson GR, Snyder J (eds) Antisocial behavior in children and adolescents: a developmental analysis and model for intervention. American Psychological Association, Washington, DC, pp 147–172Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    Snyder J, Cramer A, Afrank J, Patterson GR (2005) The contributions of ineffective discipline and parental hostile attributions of child misbehavior to the development of conduct problems at home and school. Dev Psychol 41:30–41PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social and Behavioural SciencesCity University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  2. 2.Department of PsychologySun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  3. 3.Affiliated Shenzhen Maternity & Child Healthcare HospitalSouthern Medical UniversityShenzhenChina

Personalised recommendations