Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 40, Issue 6, pp 957–969 | Cite as

Directions of Effects between Adolescent Psychopathic Traits and Parental Behavior

  • Selma Salihovic
  • Margaret Kerr
  • Metin Özdemir
  • Vilmante Pakalniskiene


The present study examined the directions of effects between adolescent psychopathic traits and parental behaviors. The data are from a community-based cohort-sequential study. Data were collected annually over 4 years. Participants were 875 adolescents, aged 13–15 at Time 1, and we analyzed their reports of negative and positive parental behavior, delinquency, and psychopathic traits. In results from cross-lagged models, adolescent psychopathic traits predicted changes over time in all of the parental behaviors at nearly all of the time intervals, whereas the prediction from parental behaviors to psychopathic traits was inconsistent across parenting measures and time intervals. These findings suggest that parental behavior is more a reaction than a predictor of psychopathic traits in adolescence.


Psychopathic traits Delinquency Parental behavior Directions of effects 


  1. Andershed, H., Gustafson, S. B., Kerr, M., & Stattin, H. (2002a). The usefulness of self-reported psychopathy-like traits in the study of antisocial behaviour among non-referred adolescents. European Journal of Personality, 16(5), 383–402. doi: 10.1002/per.455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andershed, H., Kerr, M., Stattin, H., & Levander, S. (2002b). Psychopathic traits in non-referred youths: Initial test of a new assessment tool. In E. Blaauw & L. Sheridan (Eds.), Psychopaths: Current international perspectives (pp. 131–158). The Hague, the Netherlands: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  3. Andershed, H., Hodgins, S., & Tengström, A. (2007). Convergent validity of the Youth Psychopathic Traits Inventory (YPI): Associations with the Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version (PCL:YV). Assessment, 14(2), 144–154. doi: 10.1177/1073191106298286.Google Scholar
  4. Anderson, K. E., Lytton, H., & Romney, D. M. (1986). Mothers’ interactions with normal and conduct-disordered boys: who affects whom? Developmental Psychology, 22(5), 604–609. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.22.5.604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bentler, P. M. (1990). Comparative fit indexes in structural models. Psychological Bulletin, 107(2), 238–246. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.107.2.238.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Browne, M. W., & Cudeck, R. (1993). Alternative ways of assessing model fit. In K. Bollen & S. Long (Eds.), Testing structural equation models (pp. 136–162). Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
  7. Buss, D. M. (1981). Predicting parent–child interactions from children’s activity level. Developmental Psychology, 17(1), 59–65. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.17.1.59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chen, C., Greenberger, E., Lester, J., Dong, Q., & Guo, M. S. (1998). A cross-cultural study of family and peer correlates of adolescent misconduct. Developmental Psychology, 34(4), 770–781. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.34.4.770.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Christian, R. E., Frick, P. J., Hill, N. L., & Tyler, L. (1997). Psychopathy and conduct problems in children: II. Implications for subtyping children with conduct problems. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 36(2), 233–241. doi: 10.1097/00004583-199702000-00014.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cooke, D. J., & Michie, C. (2001). Refining the construct of psychopathy: towards a hierarchical model. Psychological Assessment, 13, 171–188. doi: 10.1037/1040-3590.13.2.171.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Declercq, F., Markey, S., Vandist, K., & Verhaeghe, P. (2009). The youth psychopathic trait inventory: factor structure and antisocial behaviour in non-referred 12–17-year-olds. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 20(4), 577–594. doi: 10.1080/14789940802651757.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Forsman, M., Lichtenstein, P., Andershed, H., & Larsson, H. (2008). Genetic effects explain the stability of psychopathic personality from mid- to late adolescence. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 117(3), 606–617. doi: 10.1037/0021-843X.117.3.606.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Frick, P. J. (1998). Callous-unemotional traits and conduct problems: Applying the two-factor model of psychopathy to children. In D. J. Cooke, A. E. Forth, & R. D. Hare (Eds.), Psychopathy: Theory, research and implications for society (pp. 161–187). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  14. Frick, P. J., Kimonis, E. R., Dandreaux, D. M., & Farell, J. M. (2003). The 4 year stability of psychopathic traits in non-referred youth. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 21(6), 713–736. doi: 10.1002/bsl.568.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hawes, D. J., & Dadds, M. R. (2005). The treatment of conduct problems in children with callous-unemotional traits. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73(4), 737–741. doi: 10.1037/0022-006x.73.4.737.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hawes, D. J., Dadds, M. R., Frost, A. D. J., & Hasking, P. A. (2011). Do childhood callous-unemotional traits drive change in parenting practices? Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 40(4), 507–518. doi: 10.1080/15374416.2011.581624.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Haynie, D. L. (2001). Delinquent peers revisited: does network structure matter? The American Journal of Sociology, 106(4), 1013–1057. doi: 10.1086/320298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hindelang, M. J., Hirschi, T., & Weis, J. G. (1980). Measuring delinquency. Beverly Hills: Library of Social Research.Google Scholar
  19. Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1998). Fit indices in covariance structure modeling: sensitivity to underparameterized model misspecification. Psychological Methods, 3(4), 424–453. doi: 10.1080/10705519909540118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kerr, M., & Stattin, H. (2003). Parenting of adolescents: Action or reaction? In A. C. Crouter & A. Booth (Eds.), Children’s influence on family dynamics: The neglected side of family relationships (pp. 121–151). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  21. Kerr, M., Stattin, H., & Trost, K. (1999). To know you is to trust you: parents’ trust is rooted in child disclosure of information. Journal of Adolescence, 22(6), 737–752. doi: 10.1006/jado.1999.0266.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kline, R. P. (2010). Principles and practices of structural equation modeling (3rd ed.). New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  23. Kochanska, G. (1993). Toward a synthesis of parental socialization and child temperament in early development of conscience. Child Development, 64(2), 325–347. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.1993.tb02913.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Larsson, H., Viding, E., & Plomin, R. (2008). Callous-unemotional traits and antisocial behavior: genetic, environmental, and early parenting characteristics. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 35(2), 197–211. doi: 10.1177/0093854807310225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Little, R. J. A., & Rubin, D. B. (2002). Statistical analysis with missing data (2nd ed.). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  26. Loney, B. R., Taylor, J., Butler, M. A., & Iacono, W. G. (2007). Adolescent psychopathy features: 6-year temporal stability and the prediction of externalizing symptoms during the transition to adulthood. Aggressive Behavior, 33(3), 242–252. doi: 10.1002/ab.20184.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lykken, D. T. (1995). The antisocial personalities. Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  28. Lynam, D. R. (1996). Early identification of chronic offenders: who is the fledgling psychopath? Psychological Bulletin, 120(2), 209–234. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.120.2.209.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lynam, D. R. (1997). Pursuing the psychopath: capturing the fledgling psychopath in a nomological net. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 106(3), 425–438. doi: 10.1037/0021-843X.106.3.425.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lynam, D. R., Loeber, R., & Stouthamer-Loeber, M. (2008). The stability of psychopathy from adolescence into adulthood: the search for moderators. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 35(2), 228–243. doi: 10.1177/0093854807310153.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Magnusson, D., Dunér, A., & Zetterblom, G. (1975). Adjustment: A longitudinal study. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  32. Morsbach, S. K., & Prinz, R. (2006). Understanding and improving the validity of self-report of parenting. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 9(1), 1–21. doi: 10.1007/s10567-006-0001-5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Muñoz, L., Pakalniskiene, V., & Frick, P. J. (2011). Parental monitoring and youth problem behaviors: moderation by callous-unemotional traits over time. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 20(5), 261–269. doi: 10.1007/s00787-011-0172-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Muthén, B. O., & Muthén, L. K. (1998–2006). Mplus user’s guide (5th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén.Google Scholar
  35. Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (2006). Mplus user’s guide (6th ed.). Los Angeles: Muthén & Muthén.Google Scholar
  36. Obradović, J., Pardini, D. A., Long, J. D., & Loeber, R. (2007). Measuring interpersonal callousness in boys from childhood to adolescence: an examination of longitudinal invariance and temporal stability. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 36(3), 276–292. doi: 10.1080/15374410701441633.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Oxford, M., Cavell, T. A., & Hughes, J. N. (2003). Callous/unemotional traits moderate the relation between ineffective parenting and child externalizing problems: a partial replication and extension. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 32(4), 577–585. doi: 10.1207/s15374424jccp3204_10.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pardini, D. A., & Loeber, R. (2008). Interpersonal callousness trajectories across adolescence: early social influences and adult outcomes. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 35(2), 173–196. doi: 10.1177/0093854807310157.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Persson, S., Stattin, H., & Kerr, M. (2004). Adolescents’ conceptions of family democracy: does their own behaviour play a role? European Journal of Developmental Psychology Special Issue: Social Cognition in Adolescence: It’s Developmental Significance, 1(4), 317–330. doi: 10.1080/17405620444000238.Google Scholar
  40. Poythress, N. G., Dembo, R., Wareham, J., & Greenbaum, P. E. (2006). Construct validity of the Youth Psychopathic Traits Inventory (YPI) and the Antisocial Process Screening Device (APSD) with justice-involved adolescents. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 33(1), 26–55. doi: 10.1177/0093854805282518.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Quay, H. C. (1977). Psychopathic behavior. Reflections on its nature, origins, and treatment. In I. C. Uzgiris & F. Weizmann (Eds.), The structuring of experience (pp. 371–383). New York: Plenum Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Salekin, R. T. (2002). Psychopathy and therapeutic pessimism: clinical lore or clinical reality? Clinical Psychology Review, 22(1), 79–112. doi: 10.1016/s0272-7358(01)00083-6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Salekin, R. T., & Lochman, J. E. (2008). Child and adolescent psychopathy: The search for protective factors. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 35(2), 159–172. doi: 10.1177/0093854807311330.Google Scholar
  44. Saltaris, C. (2002). Psychopathy in juvenile offenders: can temperament and attachment be considered as robust developmental precursors? Clinical Psychology Review, 22(5), 729–752. doi: 10.1016/S0272-7358(01)00122-2.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Tilton-Weaver, L., Kerr, M., Pakalniskeine, V., Tokic, A., Salihovic, S., & Stattin, H. (2010). Open up or close down: how do parental reactions affect youth information management? Journal of Adolescence, 33(2), 333–346. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2009.07.011.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Verhulst, F. C., & Van der Ende, J. (1992). Agreement between parents’ reports and adolescents’ self-reports of problem behavior. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 33(6), 1011–1023. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.1992.tb00922.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Verona, E., Sadeh, N., & Javdani, S. (2010). The influences of gender and culture on child and adolescent psychopathy. In R. T. Salekin & D. R. Lynam (Eds.), Handbook of child and adoelscent psychopathy (pp. 317–342). New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  48. Viding, E., Blair, R. J. R., Moffitt, T. E., & Plomin, R. (2005). Evidence for substantial genetic risk for psychopathy in 7-year-olds. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 46(6), 592–597. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2004.00393.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wootton, J. M., Frick, P. J., Shelton, K. K., & Silverthorn, P. (1997). Ineffective parenting and childhood conduct problems: the moderating role of callous-unemotional traits. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 65(2), 301–308. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.65.2.292.b.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Selma Salihovic
    • 1
  • Margaret Kerr
    • 1
  • Metin Özdemir
    • 1
  • Vilmante Pakalniskiene
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for Developmental Research, JPS: PsychologyÖrebro UniversityÖrebroSweden
  2. 2.Department of General PsychologyVilnius UniversityVilniusLithuania

Personalised recommendations