Physiological Arousal and Juvenile Psychopathy: Is Low Resting Heart Rate Associated with Affective Dimensions?
- 488 Downloads
A wealth of past research has examined the relationship between low physiological arousal and violence or antisocial behavior. Relatively little research; however, has examined the relationship between low physiological arousal and psychopathic traits, with even less having been conducted with juveniles. The current study attempts to fill this gap by evaluating juveniles’ physiological arousal using resting heart rate and their levels of psychopathic traits. Results suggest that there is indeed an inverse relationship between resting heart rate and the affective traits of psychopathy (Uncaring, Callousness, and Unemotionality) as well as Thrill or Sensation Seeking in males. No significant relationship was found in females. Implications of the findings as well as study limitations and future directions are discussed.
KeywordsLow physiological arousal Psychopathy Juveniles Affective traits
The authors are grateful for support from Department of Education R305F100013 (Dr. Sharon Vaughn) and NIH Grants: K08 HD068545-01A1 (Dr. Barth). The authors are also grateful for support from the Texas Education Agency, Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk, the Institute on Educational Sciences Grants (R305F100013, R305A150058, R324A100022 & R324B080008), and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (P50 HD052117).
Complaints with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors have no conflicts of interest to report.
The institutional review boards of the participating universities approved the conduct of this research, as did the school districts. All study participants provided their informed consent.
- 1.Appelhans, BM, Luecken, LJ: Heart rate variability as an index of regulated emotional responding. Review of General Psychology 10:229–240, 2006.Google Scholar
- 4.Raine A: Annotation: The role of prefrontal deficits, low autonomic arousal, and early health factors in the development of antisocial and aggressive behavior in children. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 43:417–434, 2002.Google Scholar
- 7.Raine A: Low resting heart rate as an unequivocal risk factor for both the perpetration of and exposure to violence. JAMA Psychiatry 72:962–964, 2015.Google Scholar
- 10.Hare RD (Ed): The Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised. Toronto, Multi-Health Systems, 1991.Google Scholar
- 11.Hare, RD(Ed): The Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised. 2nd edn., Toronto, Multi-Health Systems, 2003.Google Scholar
- 14.Education, MDoEaS: Missouri Assessment Program grade-level assessments: Technical Report Final, 2014.Google Scholar
- 18.McNamara L, Ballard ME: Resting arousal, sensation seeking, and music preference. Genetic, Social, and General Psychology Monographs 125:229–250, 1999.Google Scholar
- 23.Andershed H, Kerr M, Stattin H, Levander S: Psychopathic Traits in Non-referred Youths: Initial Test of a New Assessment Tool. In: Blaauw E, Philippa JM, Ferenschild KCMP, van Lodensteijn B (Eds) Psychopaths: Current International Perspectives, The Hague, Elsevier, pp. 131–158, 2002.Google Scholar
- 24.van Baardewijk Y, Stegge H, Andershed H, Thomaes S, Scholte E, Vermeiren R: Measuring psychopathic traits in children through self-report. The development of the youth psychopathic traits inventory– child version. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 31:199–209, 2008.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 27.Sijtsema JJ, Veenstra R, Lindenberg S, van Roon AM, Verhulst FC, Ormel J, Riese H: Mediation of sensation seeking and behavioral inhibition on the relationship between heart rate and antisocial behavior: The TRAILS study. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 49:493–502, 2010.Google Scholar
- 29.Eysenck, HJ. The biological basis of personality. Springfield, IL: Thomas. 1967.Google Scholar
- 30.Eysenck HJ(Ed): Crime and Personality. London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1977.Google Scholar
- 31.Pardini DA, LochmanJE, Frick PJ: Callous/unemotional traits and social-cognitive processes in adjudicated youths. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 42:364–371, 2003.Google Scholar
- 34.De Brito SA, Viding E, Kumari V, Blackwood N, Hodgins S: Cool and hot executive function impairments in violent offenders with antisocial personality disorder with and without psychopathy. Public Library of Science One, 8:1–12, 2013.Google Scholar