Fontaine, NMG; Rozéfort, A; Bégin, V. (2023). Associations Between Callous-Unemotional Traits and Psychopathology in a Sample of Adolescent Females. Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 31(1): 14-26.
Background: Callous-unemotional (CU) traits (e.g., lack of empathy and guilt, deficient affect) have been associated with severe and persistent patterns of conduct problems and antisocial behaviour as well as with poorer treatment outcomes. They are now a specifier to the diagnosis of conduct disorder. Objective: To examine the associations between CU traits and a wide set of psychopathological symptoms (e.g., anxiety, conduct disorder) in a sample of adolescent females. Method: 200 adolescent females (M = 15.55 years, SD = 1.64) recruited from French high schools located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada (n = 150) and from units/resources managed by the Montreal Youth Center (n = 50) selfreported on their levels of CU traits and psychopathological symptoms. Results: Participants recruited from high schools, compared to their counterparts from the youth center, had lower scores on most of the scales and subscales of CU traits and psychopathology. The total score of CU traits as well as the callousness-uncaring dimension were correlated with externalizing symptoms for the participants from the schools and from the youth center. However, the total score of CU traits as well as the unemotional dimension were correlated with internalizing symptoms especially among participants from the schools. Conclusions: Our analyses revealed differences in the patterns of associations depending on the subscales of CU traits and across sample types (i.e., school subsample versus youth center subsample), which should be considered in the assessment of psychopathology in these populations.