Confirmatory Factor Analyses of Self- and Parent- Report Inventory of Callous-Unemotional Traits in 8- to 10-Year-Olds

  • Yu Gao
  • Wei Zhang


The factorial structure of the Inventory of Callous-Unemotional Traits (ICU; Frick 2004) has been inconsistent across various studies using different rater versions and samples. In this study the factorial structure of the self- and parent-report versions of the ICU was examined in a community sample of 340 boys and girls aged 8- to 10- years. A series of confirmatory factor analyses revealed that (1) for self-report ICU, a two-factor model comprising one Uncaring and one Callousness factor fit the data best; the factorial structure was invariant across sex, although boys showed higher scores than girls on the Uncaring factor; (2) for the parent-report ICU, a three-factor structure was supported, and boys and girls did not differ on factor structure or levels of the factors. For both versions, CU traits were positively associated with the count of Oppositional Defiant Disorder/Conduct Disorder and internalizing behavior symptoms, demonstrating ICU’s good convergent albeit unsatisfactory discriminant validity. Findings suggest further refinement of this instrument for the self-report and parent versions separately.


Callousness Uncaring Unemotional Child Parent Factor structure Validity 



Research reported in this publication was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development of the National Institutes of Health to the first author under Award Number SC2HD076044. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. We would like to thank the Psychophysiology Lab staff for their assistance in collecting data and the families for participation.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of Interest

Yu Gao and Wei Zhang declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Experiment Participants

This study was approved by the university Internal Review Board (IRB) and all study procedures, including informed consent, followed the protocol approved by the IRB.


  1. Achenbach, T. M. (1991). Integrative guide for the 1991 CBCL/4–18, YSR, and TRF profiles. Burlington: University of Vermont, Department of Psychiatry.Google Scholar
  2. Bagozzi, R. P., Yi, Y., & Phillips, L. W. (1991). Assessing construct validity in organizational research. Administrative Science Quarterly, 36(3), 421–458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barker, C., Pistrang, N., & Elliott, R. (1994). Research methods in clinical and counseling psychology. Chichester: John Wiley.Google Scholar
  4. Barry, C. T., Frick, P. J., DeShazo, T. M., McCoy, M., Ellis, M., & Loney, B. R. (2000). The importance of callous–unemotional traits for extending the concept of psychopathy to children. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 109(2), 335–340.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Benesch, C., Görtz-Dorten, A., Breuer, D., & Döpfner, M. (2014). Assessment of callous-unemotional traits in 6 to 12 year-old children with oppositional defiant disorder/conduct disorder by parent ratings. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 36(4), 519–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bentler, P. M. (1990). Comparative fit indexes in structural models. Psychological Bulletin, 107(2), 238–246.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Berg, J. M., Lilienfeld, S. O., Reddy, S. D., Latzman, R. D., Roose, A., Craighead, L. W., et al. (2013). The inventory of callous and unemotional traits: a construct-validational analysis in an at-risk sample. Assessment, 20(5), 532–544.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Byrd, A. L., Kahn, R. E., & Pardini, D. A. (2013). A validation of the inventory of callous-unemotional traits in a community sample of young adult males. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 35(1), 20–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Carmines, E. G., & McIver, J. P. (1981). Analyzing models with unobserved variables: analysis of covariance structures. In G. Bohrnstedt & E. Borgatta (Eds.), Social measurement: Current issues, (pp. 65–115). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  10. Cheung, G. W., & Rensvold, R. B. (2002). Evaluating goodness-of-fit indexes for testing measurement invariance. Structural Equation Modeling, 9(2), 233–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ciucci, E., Baroncelli, A., Franchi, M., Golmaryami, F. N., & Frick, P. J. (2014). The association between callous-unemotional traits and behavioral and academic adjustment in children: further validation of the inventory of callous-unemotional traits. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 36(2), 189–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Essau, C. A., Sasagawa, S., & Frick, P. J. (2006). Callous-unemotional traits in a community sample of adolescents. Assessment, 13(4), 454–469.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Ezpeleta, L., Osa, N. D. L., Granero, R., Penelo, E., & Domènech, J. M. (2013). Inventory of callous-unemotional traits in a community sample of preschoolers. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 42(1), 91–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fanti, K. A., Frick, P. J., & Georgiou, S. (2009). Linking callous-unemotional traits to instrumental and non-instrumental forms of aggression. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 31(4), 285–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Feilhauer, J., Cima, M., & Arntz, A. (2012). Assessing callous–unemotional traits across different groups of youths: further cross-cultural validation of the inventory of callous–unemotional traits. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 35(4), 251–262.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Frick, P. J. (2004). The inventory of callous-unemotional traits. Unpublished rating scale. New Orleans: University of New Orleans.Google Scholar
  17. Frick, P. J., & Dickens, C. (2006). Current perspectives on conduct disorder. Current Psychiatry Reports, 8(1), 59–72.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 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.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Frick, P. J., Lilienfeld, S. O., Ellis, M., Loney, B., & Silverthorn, P. (1999). The association between anxiety and psychopathy dimensions in children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 27(5), 383–392.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Frick, P. J., & White, S. F. (2008). Research review: the importance of callous-unemotional traits for developmental models of aggressive and antisocial behavior. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 49(4), 359–375.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Hawes, S. W., Byrd, A. L., Henderson, C. E., Gazda, R. L., Burke, J. D., Loeber, R., & Pardini, D. A. (2014). Refining the parent-reported inventory of callous–unemotional traits in boys with conduct problems. Psychological Assessment, 26(1), 256–266.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Houghton, S., Hunter, S. C., & Crow, J. (2013a). Assessing callous unemotional traits in children aged 7-to 12-years: a confirmatory factor analysis of the inventory of callous unemotional traits. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 35(2), 215–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Houghton, S., Hunter, S. C., Khan, U., & Tan, C. (2013b). Interpersonal and affective dimensions of psychopathic traits in adolescents: development and validation of a self-report instrument. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 44(1), 51–69.Google Scholar
  24. Hu, L. T., & Bentler, P. (1995). Evaluating model fit. In R. H. Hoyle (Ed.), Structural equation modeling. Concepts, issues, and applications (pp. 76–99). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  25. Jöreskog, K. G., & Sörbom, D. (1989). LISREL 7 user’s reference guide. Chicago: Scientific Software International.Google Scholar
  26. Kimonis, E. R., Branch, J., Hagman, B., Graham, N., & Miller, C. (2013). The psychometric properties of the inventory of callous–unemotional traits in an undergraduate sample. Psychological Assessment, 25(1), 84–93.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Kimonis, E. R., Frick, P. J., Skeem, J. L., Marsee, M. A., Cruise, K., Munoz, L. C., et al. (2008). Assessing callous–unemotional traits in adolescent offenders: validation of the inventory of callous–unemotional traits. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 31(3), 241–252.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Loeber, R., Green, S. M., Lahey, B. B., & Stouthamer-Loeber, M. (1991). Differences and similarities between children, mothers, and teachers as informants on disruptive child behavior. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 19(1), 75–95.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Munoz, L. C., & Frick, P. J. (2007). The reliability, stability, and predictive utility of the self-report version of the antisocial process screening device. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 48(4), 299–312.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Nunnally, J. C., & Bernstein, I. (1994). Psychometric theory (3rd ed., ). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  31. Pardini, D., Stepp, S., Hipwell, A., Stouthamer-Loeber, M., & Loeber, R. (2012). The clinical utility of the proposed DSM-5 callous-unemotional subtype of conduct disorder in young girls. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 51(1), 62–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Roose, A., Bijttebier, P., Decoene, S., Claes, L., & Frick, P. J. (2010). Assessing the affective features of psychopathy in adolescence: a further validation of the inventory of callous and unemotional traits. Assessment, 17(1), 44–57.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Salekin, R. T. (2015). Psychopathy in childhood: toward better informing the DSM–5 and ICD-11 conduct disorder specifiers. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/per0000150.Google Scholar
  34. Schermelleh-Engel, K., Moosbrugger, H., & Müller, H. (2003). Evaluating the fit of structural equation models: tests of significance and descriptive goodness-of-fit measures. Methods of Psychological Research Online, 8(2), 23–74.Google Scholar
  35. Shaffer, D., Fisher, P., & Lucas, C. (2004). The diagnostic interview schedule for children (DISC). In M. Hersen (Ed.), Comprehensive handbook of psychological assessment (pp. 256–270). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  36. Shaffer, D., Fisher, P., Lucas, C. P., Dulcan, M. K., & Schwab-Stone, M. E. (2000). NIMH diagnostic interview schedule for children version IV (NIMH DISC-IV): description, differences from previous versions, and reliability of some common diagnoses. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 39(1), 28–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Steiger, J. H. (1990). Structural model evaluation and modification: an interval estimation approach. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 25(2), 173–180.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Tanaka, J. S., & Huba, G. J. (1985). A fit index for covariance structure models under arbitrary GLS estimation. British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology, 38(2), 197–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Waller, R., Gardner, F., & Hyde, L. W. (2013). What are the associations between parenting, callous–unemotional traits, and antisocial behavior in youth? A systematic review of evidence. Clinical Psychology Review, 33(4), 593–608.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Waller, R., Hyde, L. W., Grabell, A. S., Alves, M. L., & Olson, S. L. (2015). Differential associations of early callous-unemotional, oppositional, and ADHD behaviors: multiple domains within early-starting conduct problems? Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 56(6), 657–666.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Willoughby, M. T., Mills-Koonce, W. R., Waschbusch, D. A., & Gottfredson, N. C. (2015). An examination of the parent report version of the inventory of callous-unemotional traits in a community sample of first-grade children. Assessment, 22(1), 76–85.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyBrooklyn CollegeBrooklynUSA
  2. 2.Graduate Center of the City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations