Assessing callous-unemotional traits across different groups of youths: Further cross-cultural validation of the Inventory of Callous-Unemotional Traits

J. Feilhauer, M. Cima, A. Arntz

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Abstract

The Inventory of Callous-Unemotional (CU) Traits (ICU) is a self-report questionnaire which was developed to measure the affective features of psychopathy in children and adolescents. Previous studies reported both support and difficulties with this promising new measure. The present study investigated the psychometric and discriminating qualities of the Dutch questionnaire across different groups by examining its structure, distribution and correlates. The ICU was administered to young clinical offenders (detained, N=127), healthy controls (community, N=172), non-clinical offenders (not detained, N=42) and an externalizing non-offender group (under treatment for behavioral problems, N=42). The age range for all groups was 13-20years. Since confirmatory factor analysis of models from earlier research did not yield an acceptable fit, exploratory factor analysis was conducted. Five factors were extracted: Lack of Conscience, Uncaring, Unemotional, Callousness and Lack of Empathy. The results indicated moderate to good test-retest stability and adequate internal consistency. CU traits correlated well with measures of conduct problems and aggression, indicating a good criterion and convergent validity. Results indicate weak associations with expert (Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version, PCL:YV) and informant (Antisocial Process Screening Device, APSD) measures of psychopathic traits. Although groups could be differentiated on a statistical basis, no meaningful distinction based on CU traits alone was possible. Results of this study cast doubt on the validity of the current ICU. Suggestions are made for improvement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-262
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Law and Psychiatry
Volume35
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

Keywords

  • ADOLESCENT OFFENDERS
  • AGGRESSION QUESTIONNAIRE
  • ANTISOCIAL-BEHAVIOR
  • Adolescents
  • Aggression
  • Assessment
  • CONDUCT PROBLEMS
  • Callous-unemotional traits
  • Conduct problems
  • DETAINED ADOLESCENTS
  • JOB DIAGNOSTIC SURVEY
  • JUSTICE TREATMENT INSTITUTION
  • PROCESS SCREENING DEVICE
  • PSYCHOPATHIC TRAITS
  • SELF-REPORT
  • Validation

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