Conflict of interest statement: The authors have declared that they have no competing or potential conflicts of interest.
Irritable oppositional defiance and callous unemotional traits: is the association partially explained by peer victimization?
Article first published online: 12 JUL 2012
© 2012 The Authors. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry © 2012 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Special Issue: Mood dysregulation in child and adolescent psychopathology issue
Volume 53, Issue 11, pages 1167–1175, November 2012
How to Cite
Barker, E. D. and Salekin, R. T. (2012), Irritable oppositional defiance and callous unemotional traits: is the association partially explained by peer victimization?. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 53: 1167–1175. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2012.02579.x
- Issue published online: 15 OCT 2012
- Article first published online: 12 JUL 2012
- Accepted for publication: 14 May 2012
- Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children;
- peer victimization;
- callous-unemotional traits
Background: Irritability is a subdimension of ODD, which predicts mainly to internalizing disorders, and to a lesser extent, conduct problems and callous-unemotional traits. Given that youth with similar dispositions as the irritable types – as well as youth high in callous-unemotional (CU) traits – have both been reported to experience high levels of victimization by peers, the authors examined an extension of the failure model (Patterson & Capaldi, 1990): that irritability increases peer victimization, which, in turn, predicts both CU and internalizing symptoms.
Sample: Using data from 5,923 mother-child pairs participating in The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, the authors tested the outcomes of internalizing difficulties and callous-unemotional traits (based on mother report at age 13) via the predictors (at ages 8 and 10) of irritability (mother report) and the experience of peer victimization (youth report).
Results: Irritability and peer victimization (age 10) directly predicted both CU and internalizing difficulties (age 13). Contrary to strict interpretation of the failure model, the significant indirect pathway described peer victimization (age 8) as increasing irritability (age 10), which, in turn, increased both CU and internalizing difficulties (age 13).
Conclusion: Results suggest that – for youth with irritable dispositions – co-occurring CU and internalizing difficulties can be acquired via adverse experiences in the social environment.