Interpersonal Callousness from Childhood to Adolescence: Developmental Trajectories and Early Risk Factors

Amy L. Byrd, Samuel W. Hawes, Rolf Loeber, Dustin Pardini

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    24 Scopus citations


    Youth with a callous interpersonal style, consistent with features of adult psychopathy (e.g., lack of guilt, deceitful), are at risk for exhibiting severe and protracted antisocial behaviors. However, no studies have examined changes that occur in interpersonal callousness (IC) from childhood to adolescence, and little is known about the influence of early child, social, and contextual factors on trajectories of IC. The current study examined distinct patterns of IC across childhood and adolescence and associations with early risk factors. Participants were an at-risk sample of 503 boys (56% African American) assessed annually from around ages 7–15. Analyses examined child (anger dysregulation, fearfulness), social (peer, family, maltreatment), and contextual (psychosocial adversity) factors associated with teacher-reported IC trajectories across childhood and adolescence. Using latent class growth analysis, five trajectories of IC were identified (early-onset chronic, childhood-limited, adolescent-onset, moderate, low). Approximately 10% of boys followed an early-onset chronic trajectory, and a roughly equal percent of youth followed childhood-limited trajectory (10%) or an adolescent-onset trajectory (12%) of IC across development. Specifically, half of the boys with high IC in childhood did not continue to exhibit significant levels of these features into adolescence, whereas an equal proportion of youth with low IC in childhood demonstrated increasing levels during the transition to adolescence. Boys in the early-onset chronic group were characterized by the most risk factors and were differentiated from those with childhood-limited and adolescent-onset IC only by higher conduct problems, fearlessness, and emotional abuse/neglect. Findings are discussed in terms of developmental models of IC and several avenues for early targeted interventions.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)467-482
    Number of pages16
    JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - May 4 2018

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Developmental and Educational Psychology
    • Clinical Psychology


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