Emotional Reactivity and Antisocial Behavior Relative to Posttraumatic Stress Symptom Expression: a Latent Profile Analysis

Abstract

This study examined whether emotional reactivity was associated with violent juvenile offending in a sample of detained boys (N = 198). It was predicted that Latent Profile Analysis (LPA) would reveal a “low reactivity” group, characterized by symptoms of emotional numbing and callous-unemotional (CU) traits, and a “high reactivity” group, characterized by symptoms of hyperarousal and emotional dysregulation. It was hypothesized that the low reactivity group would have higher rates of violent offending and proactive aggression than the high reactivity group. Contrary to expectations, results indicated that the presence of both emotional numbing and hyperarousal symptoms, but not hyperarousal symptoms alone, were associated with higher rates of violent offending, CU traits, and proactive aggression. Results indicate that the risk of serious aggressive behavior and violent offending may be highest among youth who are easily provoked to respond aggressively (i.e., hyperarousal symptoms) while simultaneously able to maintain emotional detachment (i.e., elevated emotional numbing symptoms and CU traits).

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Miller, M.A., Marsee, M.A. Emotional Reactivity and Antisocial Behavior Relative to Posttraumatic Stress Symptom Expression: a Latent Profile Analysis. J Abnorm Child Psychol 47, 1339–1350 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-019-00514-9

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Keywords

  • Emotional reactivity
  • Aggression
  • Callous-unemotional traits
  • Posttraumatic stress
  • Latent profile analysis
  • Juvenile offending