The utility of callous-unemotional traits in the predition of deviation behaviors
Callous-unemotional (CU) traits are key features of psychopathy, certain personality disorders, and antisocial behaviors. However, little research has focused on whether CU traits predict less severe forms of antisocial behavior, or deviation behaviors. In addition, few attempts have taken a comprehensive approach to measuring deviant behavior that captures the scope of less severe behaviors present within the normal population. The goal of this research was to investigate the relationship between behavioral deviations and CU traits to determine if CU traits predicted higher rates of everyday occurring deviations. In addition, this research adopted a statistical approach to measuring behavioral deviation based on items from several pre-existing measures of deviance falling within the deviation category proposed by Hagen’s (1984) model. This study was administered through Amazon Mechanical Turk® via Qualtrics survey software, and recruited 535 adult participants. All survey materials were counterbalanced. Scores were created by using z-scores for each item to calculate a mean overall behavioral deviation score while mean perceived harm was used to further categorize behaviors. Hierarchical multiple regression included Self-Report Psychopathy Inventory (SRP-III) subscales interpersonal manipulation (IM), callous affect (CA), erratic lifestyles (EL), and criminal tendencies CT) as independent variables; CA was the main subscale used to measure CU traits. Overall behavioral deviation and five levels of behavioral deviation varying as a function of perceived harm were included as dependent variables. Results from hierarchical multiple regressions revealed that CA was not a significant predictor of behavioral deviations. In two models IM was significant, but the effects were small. EL and CT were the most important predictors across all models. These results suggest that CU traits do not predict overall behavioral deviation once measures of impulsivity and other antisocial tendencies are held constant.