An investigation of the role and specificity of affective deficits in the development of callous unemotional traits and antisocial behaviors
Marsh, Abigail A
With the development of new diagnostic criteria for Conduct Disorder (CD) in the DSM-5, the Limited Prosocial Emotions (LPE) specifier was added to identify a subgroup of children who exhibit what have traditionally been termed Callous Unemotional (CU) traits (Frick & Moffitt, 2010). While deficient affective experience has been central to the characterization of CU traits, the exact nature of these affective deficits remains unclear. The characterization of youths with CU traits as generally unemotional has come under question due to poor reliability of assessments of unemotional traits within CU youths and a lack of association between measures of unemotionality and antisocial behaviors (Waller et al., 2015; Henry et al., 2016; Hawes et al., 2014). This pattern of findings suggest that unemotionality is either unrelated to the construct of CU traits or, alternatively, unemotionality may be too diffuse a construct to capture the affective deficits underlying CU traits. Across three studies, this dissertation aimed to investigating whether affective deficits associated with the development of CU traits and antisocial behaviors are global in nature or may in fact be less diffuse and instead specific to the experience of fear.
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