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Verbal ability and delinquency: testing the moderating role of psychopathic traits
Örebro University, Department of Behavioural, Social and Legal Sciences.
2008 (English)In: Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, ISSN 0021-9630, E-ISSN 1469-7610, Vol. 49, no 4, p. 414-421Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background Impaired verbal abilities are one of the most consistent risk factors for serious antisocial and delinquent behavior. However, individuals with psychopathic traits often show serious antisocial behavior, despite showing no impairment in their verbal abilities. Thus, the aim of the current study was to examine whether psychopathy moderates the relationship between verbal abilities and delinquent behavior in a sample of detained youth. Methods The sample included 100 detained adolescent boys who were assessed on self-reported delinquent acts and psychopathic traits, as well as their age at first offense based on official records. Participants also completed a competitive computer task involving two levels of provocation, during which skin conductance was measured. A standard measure of receptive vocabulary was individually administered. Results As predicted, there was a significant interaction between callous-unemotional (CU) traits (a critical dimension of psychopathy) and verbal ability when predicting violent delinquency. Individuals who were high on CU traits with higher scores on the measure of verbal abilities reported the greatest violent delinquency. These individuals also showed the lowest level of skin conductance reactivity during the provocation task. Conclusions The results suggest CU traits are an important moderator of the relation between verbal abilities and violent delinquency.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 49, no 4, p. 414-421
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-19580DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2007.01847.xISI: 000254275700007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-19580DiVA, id: diva2:447378
Available from: 2011-10-11 Created: 2011-10-06 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved

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Munoz, Luna C.

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CiteExportLink to record
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