“Callous” Children No More Likely To Display Psychopathy As Adults – But May Be At Greater Risk Of Committing Violent Crime

Posted on August 23, 2019

Interpersonal callousness (IC) refers to the extent to which an individual is manipulative, dishonest, lack remorse or fails to show signs of distress when punished. Prior research has found that younger children who score highly for IC have a greater chance of exhibiting psychopathic characteristics in the future.

However, that does not easily conclude that children with a high level of IC will become psychopaths. A new study led by researchers from Arizona State University finds that other risk factors should be considered in the association of children who have high IC with psychopathy.

The study involved 503 boys who were recruited in the late 1980s. This research followed them from when they were 8 to 15 years old until they reached adulthood. The participants were split into groups depending on their IC levels and underwent interviews as well as assessments at regular intervals throughout the study.

Any criminal records or aggressive behaviours exhibited by the participants were also noted down. However, when these factors were taken into account, the IC of participants recorded in their childhood did not predict their psychopathic characteristics as adults.

However, there are some connections between participants of particular IC groups and aggression or antisocial behaviour as they get older. Individuals who consistently scored high in IC since a young age have a greater tendency to exhibit aggression. Researchers have noted that further research is needed to determine if parenting and other forms of upbringing could help to reduce symptoms of IC.

Category(s):Aggression & Violence, Child and/or Adolescent Issues

Source material from The British Psychological Society Research Digest