Psychology, Department of

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The relation of psychopathy to concurrent aggression and antisocial behavior in high-risk adolescent girls and boys

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

The present study examined the concurrent relationship between psychopathy characteristics as measured by the PCL:YV and aggressive and antisocial behavior in a sample of 142 high-risk adolescent girls and boys. The unique relationship between each of three PCL:YV factors (Arrogant and Deceitful Interpersonal Style, Deficient Affective Experience, and Impulsive and Irresponsible Behavioral Style) and outcomes was evaluated to determine which aspects of psychopathy are most crucially linked to aggressive and antisocial behavior in adolescents. Dependent measures were expanded to include both relational and physical forms of aggression to better capture meaningful outcomes for girls and boys. Regression analyses showed that the relationships between psychopathic features and outcomes were equivalent for boys and girls, and that deficits in affect were most consistently associated with aggression. These findings are concordant with the well established finding in developmental research showing that deficits in empathy and affect regulation are associated with aggression.

Document type: 
Article
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Rumination on anger and sadness in adolescence: Fueling of fury and deepening of despair

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

We examined anger rumination and sadness rumination in clinic-referred adolescents (N=121). Factor analysis indicated that items from analogous anger and sadness rumination measures loaded onto 2 factors tapping anger rumination and sadness rumination, respectively. Structural equation modeling confirmed unique relations between each form of rumination and specific emotional or behavioral problems. Anger and anger rumination were independent predictors of aggression, suggesting that both the affective component of anger (i.e., angry feelings) and the cognitive process (i.e., recurrent thoughts about anger) are important in predicting aggressive behavior. Girls reported higher levels of both forms of rumination compared to boys; however, no sex differences were found in the relations between either form of rumination and outcomes.

Document type: 
Article
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A latent variable modeling approach to identifying subtypes of serious and violent female offenders

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

Females have recently become an important population in research related to serious and violent juvenile offending. Although a small body of research exists on girls in the deep end of the system, very few studies have examined the degree of heterogeneity within high-risk female samples. This study applied latent class analysis (LCA) to identify subgroups of female juvenile offenders based on their self-report of offending profiles (N=133). Results supported a three-class solution with subgroups characterized by patterns of 'violent and delinquent', 'delinquency only', and 'low' offending patterns. The LCA solution was replicated in an independent sample of high-risk females. The 'violent and delinquent' class was characterized by significantly higher rates of DSM-IV diagnoses for internalizing disorders, affect dysregulation, exposure to violence (within the home, school and neighborhood), and familial histories of criminality. Implications for future research, policy and clinical practice are discussed.

Document type: 
Article
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Structural validity of the MACI psychopathy and narcissism scales: Evidence of multidimensionality and implications for use in research and screening

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

This study investigated the psychometric properties and predictive validity of three self-report scales (the Psychopathy Content Scale, the Psychopathy-16 scale, and the Egotistic scale) derived from the Millon Adolescent Clinical Inventory (MACI) to screen for the presence of psychopathic and narcissistic personality characteristics. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were performed in a sample of 173 clinic-referred adolescents (ages 12-17), results from which suggested that these scales are multidimensional in nature. The Psychopathy Content Scale was best captured by a two-factor structure, with personality-based items loading on one factor and antisocial/impulsive behaviors loading on the second. The most parsimonious solution for the Psychopathy-16 scale was a three-factor model, characterized by callous and egocentric features on the first two factors and antisocial behaviors on the third. The Egotistic scale of the MACI was best represented by three factors, depicting features of self-confidence, exhibitionistic tendencies, and social conceit, respectively. Regression analyses supported the multidimensionality of these scales by showing divergent patterns of association with violent and nonviolent outcomes among the factors that composed the scales.

Document type: 
Article
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Serious conduct problems in high-risk girls: Translating research into intervention

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2011
Abstract: 

Until recently, research on serious conduct problems focused primarily on boys and men. In the past decade, however, we have gained a better understanding of the unique and shared risk and protective factors for girls and boys, and the role of gender in relation to developmental pathways associated with such problems. In this paper we discuss findings from the Gender and Aggression Project on risk and protective factors for girls who are perpetrators but also victims of violence. We discuss our findings from a developmental perspective, with the goal of understanding how exposure to adversity and violence early in life places girls at risk for aggression and violence, among other problems, and how continued exposure to trauma and the disruption of interpersonal and self-regulatory developmental processes cascades into ever deeper and broader problems. This research points more clearly to the need for  accessible, evidence-based, and developmentally sensitive intervention.

Document type: 
Article

Effectiveness of an attachment-focused manualized intervention for parents of teens at risk for aggressive behaviour: The Connect Program

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

Aggressive, violent and antisocial behaviour in children and adolescents is a growing concern across the globe. Targeting parent-teen relationships is critical in reducing problem behaviour. ‘Connect’ is a manualized ten-week program for parents or alternative caregivers of at-risk teens that focuses on the building blocks of secure attachment: parental sensitivity, cooperation, reflective capacity, and effective dyadic affect regulation. Through didactic and experiential activities, parents develop the competence necessary to identify, understand and respond to the needs of their teen in a manner that provides structure and safety while safeguarding the quality of the parent-teen relationship. In Study 1, twenty parents reported significant increases in perceived parenting satisfaction and efficacy and reductions in adolescents' aggression, antisocial behaviour and other mental health problems following completion of Connect as compared to a waitlist control period. These effects were sustained and additional small effects were noted in decreases in conduct problems, depression and anxiety at a 12-month follow-up. The program was then transported to 17 communities serving 309 parents through standardized training and supervision of group leaders. Study 2 summarizes significant pre- to post-treatment reductions in teen externalizing and internalizing problems; enhanced social functioning; and improvements in affect regulation. Parents also reported significant increases in parenting satisfaction and perceived efficacy and reductions in caregiver burden.

Document type: 
Article

Short-term stability of psychopathic traits in adolescent offenders

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

There is considerable debate about the assessment of psychopathic traits in adolescence due in part to questions regarding the stability of traits. We investigated the 6-month stability of psychopathic traits in a sample of 83 male adolescent offenders using an augmented protocol for the Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version and the self-report Antisocial Process Screening Device. Findings suggested moderate to high stability of psychopathic traits, as indexed by total scores, and low to moderate stability of psychopathic traits at the factor level. The interpersonal and behavioral traits demonstrated greater stability relative to the affective traits, and stability varied by developmental stage, with lower stability in early adolescence. Implications for understanding the developmental expression of psychopathic traits in adolescence, as well as for clinical-forensic practice, are discussed.

Document type: 
Article
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Ruminating on rumination: Are rumination on anger and sadness differentially related to aggression and depressed mood?

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2010
Abstract: 

Rumination is a risk factor for aggression and depression, yet few studies have incorporated both aggression and depression in a unitary model that reflects how rumination predicts these distinct conditions. The current study examined rumination on anger and sadness to assess their unique relations with aggression and depressed mood, respectively. Analogous anger rumination and sadness rumination questionnaires were used to minimize measurement variance, and were completed by 226 undergraduate students. Factor analysis suggested one general rumination factor comprised of two distinct sub-factors of anger rumination and sadness rumination. Path analysis confirmed unique relations between anger rumination and aggression, and sadness rumination and depressed mood. Further, anger rumination and anger were independent predictors of aggression. Results supported the conceptualization of anger rumination and sadness rumination as distinct constructs and underscore the importance of pursuing research that incorporates both forms of rumination to better understand how they impact development, mental health, and behavior.

Document type: 
Article
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Gender differences in risk factors for violence: An examination of the predictive validity of the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2010
Abstract: 

The research literature on predicting violence is particularly lacking in specifying risk factors for violence in adolescent girls. The recently developed Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth [SAVRY; Borum et al., 2006] shows promise as it is empirically derived and incorporates dynamic factors in its assessment of risk. To date, there exists little information attesting to the reliability and validity of the SAVRY, and few investigations of the SAVRY's utility across gender. This study investigated the SAVRY in a sample of 144 high-risk adolescents (80 males and 64 females), focusing on gender discrepancies in the predictive utility of the measure. Results indicate that the SAVRY moderately predicts violent and non-violent reoffending in the entire sample, and also suggest that the SAVRY operates comparably across gender. Although not precluding the existence of gender-specific domains of risk, current results suggest that validated risk factors in boys hold relevance for the prediction of violence and delinquency in girls.

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Article
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The roles of affect dysregulation and deficient affect in youth violence

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2010
Abstract: 

Children with high dysregulated affect experience a range of emotional and behavioral problems, including aggression, delinquency, and low levels of prosocial behavior. Alongside this research, the psychopathy literature suggests that abnormally low levels of affect and emotional reactivity are associated with aggression and violence. The current study builds on prior research in the fields of affect regulation and psychopathy by testing the effects of affect dysregulation and deficient affect in predicting aggression and antisociality in 179 high-risk youth. Using structural equation modeling, results suggest that affect dysregulation and deficient affect are separate risk factors for aggression, as both constructs contributed independently to aggression while showing marginal relations with one another. Features of deficient affect, but not dysregulation, were robust predictors of violent and nonviolent offending. We discuss the importance of recognizing that diverse risk factors may lead to similar outcomes and highlight the heterogeneity in risk factors underlying aggressive behaviors.

Document type: 
Article