skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 221655 Find in a Library
Title: Callous-Unemotional Traits and Antisocial Behavior: Genetic, Environmental, and Early Parenting Characteristics
Journal: Criminal Justice and Behavior  Volume:35  Issue:2  Dated:February 2008  Pages:197-211
Author(s): Henrik Larsson; Essi Viding; Robert Plomin
Date Published: February 2008
Page Count: 15
Sponsoring Agency: Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research
SE-103 15 Stockholm,
UK Dept of Health and Home Office
London, SW1A 2NS
UK Medical Research Council
London , W1B 1AL
Grant Number: G0500079;MRD 12-37;2005-1356
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study compared the characteristics of early parenting toward children with various levels of callous-unemotional (CU) traits and antisocial behavior (AB).
Abstract: The study found that children who exhibited the highest levels of AB and CU traits also experienced higher levels of negative parental feelings and harsh parental discipline. This pattern held before and after controlling for gender and the family's socioeconomic status. Findings on child-driven effects on parenting characteristics, however, indicated a reciprocal effect, i.e., children's conduct problems (AB and CU) elicited negative parental feelings and parental efforts to suppress children's problem behaviors. Identification of the factors underlying children's AB and CU that evoke negative parental feelings and behaviors toward the children is still an open question; however, results from one recent study indicate that genetically influenced AB evokes conflict in the parent-child relationship. This suggests a gene-environment process that underlies negative parent-child interactions associated with high levels of AB and CU in children. To date, there has been no published study that has focused on identifying genes linked to CU traits. Study data came from the 1994 and 1995 birth cohorts of the Twins Early Development Study, a large population-based longitudinal study of twins born in England and Wales. The final sample consisted of 4,430 twins (53 percent boys). Only same-sexed twins were included in this study. Teachers provided ratings of CU and AB traits when the twins were 7 years old. Parental feelings toward children were assessed when the children were ages 3 and 4, using the Parent Negativity Scale of the Parent Feelings Questionnaire. Parental harsh discipline was assessed at ages 3 and 4 based on two questionnaire items adapted from a semistructured interview. Information on children's symptoms of conduct problems and hyperactivity was obtained from parent reports when the twins were 3 years old. 3 tables and 46 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors
Index Term(s): Antisocial attitudes; Biological influences; Environmental influences; Foreign criminal justice research; Longitudinal studies; Mental disorders; Parental influence; Problem behavior; Social conditions; Twins as research subjects; United Kingdom (UK)
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.