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Title: The influence of parenting on the development of callous-unemotional behaviors from ages 2-9
Author: Waller, Rebecca
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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The purpose of this thesis was to examine associations between parenting and child callous-unemotional (CU) behavior in a high-risk sample of children aged 2-9 years. First, a narrative review examined the construct of CU behavior, focusing specifically on definitions and measurement of the affective and interpersonal dimensions of psychopathy, and their applicability to youth. Second, a systematic review examined evidence from 30 studies that had investigated associations between dimensions of parenting and CU traits. Studies were classified as testing one of five different research questions. Third, five different empirical studies tested various research questions pertaining to associations between parenting and CU behavior. Data from mother-child dyads N = 731; 49% female) were collected from a multi-ethnic and high-risk sample, and included multi-method observed measures of parenting. Study 1 found that observed harsh and positive parenting predicted child CU behavior from ages 2-4, controlling for earlier child behavior and various demographic covariates. Study 2 employed a moderator design, and found that harsh and warm parenting were more strongly related to the conduct problems of children with high versus low levels of CU behavior. Study 3 tested cross-lagged simultaneous and reciprocal effects models, and found that parental warmth (observed and expressed by parents in speech samples) uniquely predicted child CU behavior versus conduct problems. Study 4 tested the factor structure of Inventory of Callous-Unemotional Traits (ICU; Frick, 2004), finding support for a three-Bifactor structure. Finally, Study 5 found that parent-child affective interactions at ages 2-3 predicted CU traits at age 9, over and above general behavior problems. Taken together, the results of this thesis suggest that CU features are more malleable than previously thought. In particular, aspects of parental affect and warm parenting behavior appear to be important key targets of investigation for future empirical and intervention studies.
Supervisor: Gardner, Frances Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Child and adolescent psychiatry ; Evidence based mental health ; Developmental psychology ; Social policy & social work ; Families,children and childcare ; parenting ; conduct problems ; callous unemotional ; structural equation modeling ; intervention design