Journal of Youth and Adolescence Volume: 41 Issue: 11 Dated: November 2012 Pages: 1397-1408
This study aims to analyze whether the early manifestation of psychopathic traits designates a group of children with severe, pervasive and persistent conduct problems.
Child and youth conduct problems are known to be a heterogeneous category that implies different factors and processes. The current study aims to analyze whether the early manifestation of psychopathic traits designates a group of children with severe, pervasive and persistent conduct problems. To this end, cluster analysis was conducted in a sample of 138 children (27.6 % female), aged 6-11 at the first wave of the study (T1) and 12-17 in a follow-up carried out 6 years later (T2). Results allowed the identification of four distinctive clusters: Primarily externalizing, Externalizing-psychopathic, Primarily psychopathic and Non-problematic. As was expected, the Externalizing-psychopathic cluster showed the most severe and persistent pattern of behavioral, temperamental and social disruptions across the 6 years of the study. Early psychopathic traits seemed also to be relevant in predicting higher levels of conduct problems in T2, even when conduct disorders had not manifested in T1. These results highlight the role of psychopathic traits in predicting adolescent psychosocial disorders and the relevance to analyze them at early developmental stages. Abstract published by arrangement with Springer.
United States of America