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Associations Among Callous-Unemotional Traits, Worry, and Aggression in Justice-Involved Adolescent Boys

NCJ Number
Clinical Psychological Science Volume: 6 Issue: 5 Dated: May 2018 Pages: 671-684
Emily L. Robertson; Paul J. Frick; James V. Ray; Laura C. Thornton; Tina D. Wall Myers; Laurence Steinberg; Elizabeth Cauffman
Date Published
May 2018
14 pages
Since previous research has reported that elevations on both callous-unemotional (CU) traits and anxiety (measured as trait worry) among adolescents are associated with a particularly severe pattern of aggressive behavior, the current study tested whether elevated trait worry would add only to the prediction of less severe and reactive aggression assessed by self-report but not to more severe violence, proactive aggression, and official records of violent arrests.
First-time male juvenile offenders (N = 1,216) were assessed at 6-month intervals for 30 months. Contrary to predictions, the analyses found both CU traits and worry independently predicted self-reported violent offenses (regardless of violence severity) and aggression (both proactive and reactive) across 30 months after their first arrest; however, when using arrest records, only CU traits were associated with violent offenses. This suggests that the additive effects of anxiety and worry in predicting risk for later violence may be limited to self-report. (publisher abstract modified)