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Developmental Trajectories of Interpersonal Callousness From Childhood to Adolescence as Predictors of Antisocial Behavior and Psychopathic Features in Young Adulthood

NCJ Number
Journal of Abnormal Psychology Volume: 128 Issue: 7 Dated: 2019 Pages: 700-709
Meagan Docherty; Jordan Beardslee; Amy L. Byrd; Vevette J Yang; Dustin A Pardini
Date Published
10 pages
This study used data from the youngest cohort (N = 503) of the Pittsburgh Youth Study to examine how latent classes of youth with different developmental patterns of interpersonal callousness (IC) across a 7-year period (ages 8 to 15) differed in their official records of juvenile (ages 16–17) and young adult (ages 18–31) offending, as well as self-reported psychopathic features and aggression in young adulthood (age 29).
Although previous research has established a link between early interpersonal callousness (IC) from childhood to adolescence and later antisocial behavior and psychopathic features, most of these studies assessed more proximal outcomes (e.g., assessed in adolescence). Thus, it is unclear whether youth with early-onset chronic levels of IC will continue to have negative outcomes into adulthood (i.e., roughly 14 years after IC was assessed). Results of the current study indicated that after adjusting for race, early offending, and externalizing behaviors in adolescence, youth with an early-onset chronic pattern of IC had substantially elevated risk for a serious and persistent pattern of offending, particularly violent offending; however, once these covariates were included, IC class no longer significantly predicted psychopathic features in adulthood. Thus, it is possible that the stability from early patterns of IC to adult psychopathic features may have previously been overstated. Future work could examine whether interventions to reduce IC in childhood and adolescence could successfully result in improved outcomes into adulthood. (publisher abstract modified)