Refining the parent-reported inventory of callous-unemotional traits in boys with conduct problems

Samuel W. Hawes, Amy L. Byrd, Craig E. Henderson, Rebecca L. Gazda, Jeffrey D. Burke, Rolf Loeber, Dustin A. Pardini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Callous- unemotional (CU) traits have been shown to delineate a unique subgroup of children with severe and persistent conduct problems that seem to have unique etiological origins. However, commonly used measures of CU traits in children may not adequately capture the full range of these characteristics in a developmentally appropriate manner. As a result, the 24-item Inventory of Callous-Unemotional Traits (ICU; self-, parent-, and teacher-report versions; Frick, 2004) was recently developed as a more extensive assessment of CU traits. However, studies to date have focused almost exclusively on the self-report version ICU in adolescents and have identified problems with the factor structure of the measure. The current study is the 1st to examine the factor structure of the parent-report version ICU in a sample of 250 boys (ages 6-12 years) exhibiting significant conduct problems. Initial analyses indicated that factor models reported for the parent-report version of the ICU demonstrated a relatively poor fit to the data. Item response theory techniques were used to develop a more psychometrically sound and efficient short form of the ICU consisting of 2 factors (i.e., Callous and Uncaring) using 12 of the original 24 items. The revised version scores demonstrated high internal consistency, good discrimination across the continuum of the CU construct, and adequate short-term test-retest reliability. The revised measure total score also exhibited evidence of convergent and discriminant validity, although the subscales exhibited some differential correlations with theoretically meaningful constructs. Avenues for future measure refinement and use with children are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-266
Number of pages11
JournalPsychological Assessment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Assessment
  • Callous- unemotional
  • Conduct problems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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