Revisiting Lynams notion of the fledgling psychopath: are HIA-CP children truly psychopathic-likeReport as inadecuate

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Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health

, 4:24

First Online: 03 September 2010Received: 28 June 2010Accepted: 03 September 2010


BackgroundIn his developmental model of emerging psychopathy, Lynam proposed that the -fledgling psychopath- is most likely to be located within a subgroup of children elevated in both hyperactivity-inattention-impulsivity HIA and conduct problems CP. This approach has garnered some empirical support. However, the extent to which Lynam-s model captures children who resemble psychopathy with regard to the core affective and interpersonal features remains unclear.

MethodsIn the present study, we investigated this issue within a large community sample of youth N = 617. Four groups non-HIA-CP, HIA-only, CP-only, and HIA-CP, defined on the basis of teacher reports of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire SDQ, were compared with respect to parent-reported psychopathic-like traits and subjective emotional reactivity in response to unpleasant, emotionally-laden pictures from the International Affective Pictures System IAPS.

ResultsResults did not support Lynam-s model. HIA-CP children did not appear most psychopathic-like on dimensions of callous-unemotional and narcissistic personality, nor did they report reduced emotional reactivity to the IAPS relative to the other children. Post-hoc regression analyses revealed a significant moderation such that elevated HIA weakened the association between CP and emotional underarousal.

ConclusionsImplications of these findings with regard to the development of psychopathy are discussed.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1753-2000-4-24 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Jared D Michonski - Carla Sharp


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