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The Development of Conduct Problems in Early Childhood: The Role of Psychopathic Traits and Psychopathic Personality
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work, Örebro University, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0590-8600
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Research has shown that children displaying conduct problems (CP) early in life are at greater risk for severe CP and other negative outcomes later in life. However, not all children with early-onset CP will develop severe CP over the life-course. Thus, it is important to identify those at greater risk, preferably as early as possible, in order to adequately prevent a negative development. Psychopathic traits have received much attention in research on risk for severe CP, involving attempts to extend these traits, and their association to CP to childhood. However, research has thus far mainly focused on one dimension of psychopathic traits, that is callousunemotional (CU) traits, to some extent neglecting two other dimensions of traits commonly included in a psychopathic personality: an interpersonal, and a behavioural dimension. Hence, we still do not know if a full psychopathic personality is identifiable in early childhood, and if and how it is related to the development of severe and persistent CP. The aim of this dissertation was to examine if a psychopathic personality could be identified in early childhood, if psychopathic traits are stable over time, and if and how the psychopathic personality is related to childhood CP. Overall, the results show that psychopathic traits, as well as the display of a psychopathic personality, could be identified in early childhood. These traits were stable over time, and they were clearly and strongly related to childhood CP. Additionally, the combination of early-onset CP and a full psychopathic personality seems to be the most precarious for severe and persistent CP, even more so than the combination of CP and CU traits. With careful consideration to ethical aspects, these results are discussed both in relation to a developmental psychopathology perspective on CP, as well as in relation to diagnostic practice as it is framed today.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro university , 2016. , 99 p.
Series
Örebro Studies in Psychology, ISSN 1651-1328 ; 36
Keyword [en]
conduct problems, callous-unemotional traits, developmental psychopathology, diagnostics, early childhood, psychopathic traits, psychopathic personality
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-53167ISBN: 978-91-7529-165-9OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-53167DiVA: diva2:1039381
Public defence
2016-12-09, Örebro universitet, Teknikhuset, Hörsal T, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-10-24 Created: 2016-10-24 Last updated: 2016-11-18Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. A New Measure to Assess Psychopathic Personality in Children: The Child Problematic Traits Inventory
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A New Measure to Assess Psychopathic Personality in Children: The Child Problematic Traits Inventory
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2014 (English)In: Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, ISSN 0882-2689, E-ISSN 1573-3505, Vol. 36, no 1, 4-21 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Understanding the development of psychopathic personality from childhood to adulthood is crucial for understanding the development and stability of severe and long-lasting conduct problems and criminal behavior. This paper describes the development of a new teacher rated instrument to assess psychopathic personality from age three to 12, the Child Problematic Traits Inventory (CPTI). The reliability and validity of the CPTI was tested in a Swedish general population sample of 2,056 3- to 5-year-olds (mean age = 3.86; SD = .86; 53 % boys). The CPTI items loaded distinctively on three theoretically proposed factors: a Grandiose-Deceitful Factor, a Callous-Unemotional factor, and an Impulsive-Need for Stimulation factor. The three CPTI factors showed reliability in internal consistency and external validity, in terms of expected correlations with theoretically relevant constructs (e.g., fearlessness). The interaction between the three CPTI factors was a stronger predictor of concurrent conduct problems than any of the three individual CPTI factors, showing that it is important to assess all three factors of the psychopathic personality construct in early childhood. In conclusion, the CPTI seems to reliably and validly assess a constellation of traits that is similar to psychopathic personality as manifested in adolescence and adulthood.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2014
Keyword
Assessment, Child problematic traits inventory (CPTI), Children, Conduct problems, Psychopathic personality
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-34505 (URN)10.1007/s10862-013-9385-y (DOI)000331971900002 ()24610971 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-84900376759 (ScopusID)
Available from: 2014-03-31 Created: 2014-03-31 Last updated: 2016-11-17Bibliographically approved
2. Psychopathic Traits During Early Childhood: Stable Over Time or Rapidly Changing?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Psychopathic Traits During Early Childhood: Stable Over Time or Rapidly Changing?
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-53549 (URN)
Available from: 2016-11-17 Created: 2016-11-17 Last updated: 2016-11-17Bibliographically approved
3. Childhood Psychopathic Personality and Callous-Unemotional Traits in the Prediction of Conduct Problems
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Childhood Psychopathic Personality and Callous-Unemotional Traits in the Prediction of Conduct Problems
2016 (English)In: American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, ISSN 0002-9432, E-ISSN 1939-0025Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

This study analyzed data from a prospective longitudinal study of Swedish preschoolers to examine whether psychopathic traits and concurrent conduct problems predict future conduct problems (CP) across 1- and 2-year follow-ups into early childhood. We tested the predictive ability of psychopathic traits while controlling for concurrent CP, and also by combining psychopathic traits with concurrent CP. A community sample of 1,867 preschoolers (47% girls) ages 3 to 5 years at baseline was recruited from a Swedish medium-sized municipality. Results from multivariate regression analyses showed that psychopathic traits alone (without co-occurring CP) did not consistently predict continuing childhood CP, but did so, among both boys and girls, in combination with concurrent conduct problems. It is important to note that, the combination of concurrent CP and the entire psychopathic personality, that is, a 3-dimensional psychopathic construct, was a stronger predictor of continuing childhood CP than the combination of concurrent CP and Callous-Unemotional (CU) traits among boys but not among girls.

National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-53547 (URN)10.1037/ort0000205 (DOI)27786502 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2016-11-17 Created: 2016-11-17 Last updated: 2016-11-17Bibliographically approved
4. Psychopathic Personality Works Better than CU Traits for Predicting Fearlessness and ADHD Symptoms among Children with Conduct Problems
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Psychopathic Personality Works Better than CU Traits for Predicting Fearlessness and ADHD Symptoms among Children with Conduct Problems
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-53548 (URN)
Available from: 2016-11-17 Created: 2016-11-17 Last updated: 2016-11-17Bibliographically approved

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Frogner, Louise
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