Classroom Rule Violations in Elementary School Students With Callous-Unemotional Traits

Daniel A. Waschbusch, Paulo A. Graziano, Michael T. Willoughby, William E. Pelham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


An emerging body of mental health research provides evidence that callous-unemotional (CU) traits explain significant and meaningful variance among children with disruptive behavior disorders. However, the classroom behavior of students with CU traits has not yet been adequately studied. This study examined this issue using teacher-recorded classroom rule violations (RVs). Participants were 648 children (346 boys; M age = 8.14) from 28 classrooms (kindergarten–sixth grade) distributed across three schools participating in a schoolwide behavioral intervention. Teachers completed rating scales approximately 4 to 6 weeks after the start of the school year, prior to initiating the schoolwide intervention. After completing ratings, teachers recorded daily frequency counts of RVs for each student in their classroom for the remainder of the school year. Growth curve modeling analyses indicated that (a) CU traits were associated with elevated rates of RVs at the start of the school year even after taking attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and oppositional defiant disorder/conduct disorder (ODD/CD) into account and (b) CU traits were associated with a significant decrease in rates of RVs across the school year. CU traits appear to explain significant and important variance in classroom RVs among elementary school age students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-192
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 21 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Classroom Rule Violations in Elementary School Students With Callous-Unemotional Traits'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this