Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 46, Issue 6, pp 1241–1252 | Cite as

Distilling Heterogeneity among Children with Disruptive Behavior: Associations between Symptom Patterns and Social Functioning

  • Madison Aitken
  • Shanelle Henry
  • Brendan F. AndradeEmail author


Children with disruptive behavior (DB) are a heterogeneous group who exhibit several characteristics that may contribute to poor social functioning. The present study identified profiles of reactive aggression, proactive aggression, callous-unemotional (CU) traits, and prosocial behavior in a sample of children with DB. Associations with social functioning (social interaction, social status) were then examined, along with sex differences in profile membership. Parent ratings of 304 clinic-referred children ages 6–12 years with DB were analyzed using latent profile analysis. Five profiles were identified: 1) Moderate prosocial behavior, reactive aggression, and CU, and low proactive aggression (labelled Moderate); 2) Relatively high prosocial behavior and low reactive and proactive aggression and CU traits (Prosocial); 3) High prosocial behavior and reactive aggression, moderate proactive aggression, and low-moderate CU (Reactive-Prosocial); 4) Low prosocial behavior, high CU, high-moderate reactive aggression, and low-moderate proactive aggression (Reactive-CU); and 5) Low prosocial behavior and high reactive and proactive aggression and CU (Aggressive-CU). Profiles characterized by CU traits, reactive aggression, and low prosocial behavior were associated with the most problematic parent-rated social interaction and social status. The results highlight the need to differentiate profiles of psychopathology in children with DB to better address factors most associated with social functioning.


Disruptive behavior Peer relationships Aggression Callous-unemotional traits Prosocial behavior 



We are grateful to Marcos Sanches for his guidance regarding the analyses.


Dr. Andrade’s research is funded by a New Investigator Fellowship (Ontario Mental Health Foundation) and Career Development Award (Canadian Child Health Clinician-Scientist Program).

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 parents and assent from all children to participate in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Madison Aitken
    • 1
  • Shanelle Henry
    • 1
    • 2
  • Brendan F. Andrade
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Child, Youth and Emerging Adult ProgramTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development, Ontario Institute for Studies in EducationUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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