*Bégin V, Déry M, Le Corff Y. (2020). Developmental Associations Between Psychopathic Traits and Childhood-Onset Conduct Problems. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment. 42(2): 191–202
The three dimensions of psychopathic traits in childhood predict high levels of conduct problems. Theoretical conceptions suggest that, in addition to predicting the onset of conduct problems, traits also contribute to their developmental pathways. However, little is known about the associations between the trajectories of the three dimensions of psychopathic traits and the persistence and desistance of childhood-onset conduct problems. The objective of the present study was to examine the associations between 6-year trajectories of the three dimensions of psychopathic traits and 8-year trajectories of conduct problems among 316 children (41.8% girls) with childhood-onset conduct problems who were followed longitudinally from childhood to adolescence. Results showed that a higher probability of following high trajectories of each dimension of psychopathic traits significantly increases the odds of following a higher and less declining pattern of conduct problems over and above child sex and annual family income. Results also showed that the combination of a high trajectory of more than one dimension of psychopathic traits is a stronger indicator of a higher and less declining pattern of conduct problems than a high trajectory of only one dimension. These results support the importance of considering the three dimensions of psychopathic traits in understanding the heterogeneity of childhood-onset conduct problems pathways. They also point out the need to assess these traits early in order to give practitioners valuable information in the clinical assessment and treatment of antisocial children.