Irritability and Limited Prosocial Emotions/Callous-Unemotional Traits in Elementary-School-Age Children

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19 Scopus citations


Affective traits, including irritability and limited prosocial emotions/callous-unemotional traits (LPE/CU), each explain significant variance in youth conduct problems but few studies have examined these constructs simultaneously. This study examined whether irritability, LPE/CU, or their combination explained significant variance in measures of internalizing or externalizing psychopathology, aggression, peer problems, impairment, or parenting. Participants were 219 elementary-school-age children, including 178 with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and/or conduct disorder and 41 typically developing children. Results of analyses showed that irritability and LPE/CU had significant and sometimes unique associations with measures of child behavior, impairment, and parenting. There was also evidence that the interaction between irritability and LPE/CU was significantly associated with aggression and impairment. These findings suggest that irritability and LPE/CU should be examined together when assessing and treating conduct problems in youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-237
Number of pages15
JournalBehavior Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology


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