Dave S. Pasalich is now at the Center for Children and Families, Florida International University.
Attachment and callous-unemotional traits in children with early-onset conduct problems
Article first published online: 7 MAR 2012
© 2012 The Authors. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry © 2012 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Volume 53, Issue 8, pages 838–845, August 2012
How to Cite
Pasalich, D. S., Dadds, M. R., Hawes, D. J. and Brennan, J. (2012), Attachment and callous-unemotional traits in children with early-onset conduct problems. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 53: 838–845. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2012.02544.x
Conflict of interest statement: No conflicts declared.
- Issue published online: 12 JUL 2012
- Article first published online: 7 MAR 2012
- Accepted for publication: 31 January 2012
- parent-child relationship;
- conduct problems
Background: Antisocial children with callous-unemotional (CU) traits appear to be disconnected from other people’s emotions; although little is known about their experience of the parent-child emotional bond. This study examined parent-child attachment relationships and levels of CU traits in conduct-problem children.
Method: Attachment classifications in boys (M = 6.31 years) with disruptive behaviour disorders were assessed using the Manchester Child Attachment Story Task. Multiple informants rated children’s CU traits.
Results: Independent of severity of conduct problems, high levels of CU traits were associated with more insecure attachment; specifically, disorganised attachment representations; however, CU traits were not associated with avoidant representations.
Conclusions: Among conduct-problem children, those higher on CU traits appear to be at increased risk of experiencing disruptions in parent-child attachment relationships; attachment may be an important area for treatment and prevention efforts for CU traits in young children.