Callous-Unemotional Traits, Impulsivity, and Emotional Processing in Adolescents With Antisocial Behavior Problems

Bryan R. Loney, Paul J. Frick, Carl B. Clements, Mesha L. Ellis, Kimberly Kerlin
2003 Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology  
Examined the emotional reactivity of adolescents with antisocial behavior problems using a lexical decision paradigm. Evidence from adult forensic samples indicates that psychopathic traits are associated with abnormalities in the processing of emotional stimuli. In an attempt to extend these findings earlier in development, this association was tested in a sample of adolescents (mean age = 16.01; SD = 1.32) referred to a diversion program for delinquent behavior. Emotional processing was
more » ... rocessing was assessed by comparing recognition time for emotional words, both positive and negative, to recognition time for nonemotional words. Consistent with adult findings, the callous-unemotional (CU) dimension of psychopathy was associated with slower reaction times to negative words. In contrast, problems of impulse control were associated with faster recognition times for negative emotional words. These findings suggest that different patterns of emotional reactivity may characterize distinct subgroups of youth with antisocial behavior problems.
doi:10.1207/s15374424jccp3201_07 pmid:12573933 fatcat:bgwlftzzwfh4zjbfrm7e2r6y4e