Empathy, Self-control, Callous-Unemotionality, and Delinquency: Unique and Shared Developmental Antecedents

Magda Javakhishvili, Alexander T. Vazsonyi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The current investigation tested childhood developmental antecedents of adolescent empathy, self-control, callous-unemotionality, and delinquency, namely difficult temperament, positive socialization experiences, and intelligence; it also tested potential mediation effects of temperament via socialization. Data were collected as part of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Early Child Care and Youth Development Study, which followed N = 1364 children from birth through 15 years (51% female, 80% European American). Early positive socialization (maternal sensitivity, secure attachment, and quality home environment) and temperament variables were assessed from 1 to 36 months, intelligence at age 9, and self-control, empathy, callous-unemotionality, and delinquency at age 15. Based on structural equation modeling hypothesis tests, early positive socialization positively predicted self-control and empathy, and negatively predicted callous-unemotionality and delinquency. Intelligence uniquely and positively predicted empathy. Difficult infant temperament indirectly predicted each of the four traits through early positive socialization. Important research and practical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-402
Number of pages14
JournalChild Psychiatry and Human Development
Volume53
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was conducted by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Early Child Care Research Network supported by NICHD through a cooperative agreement that calls for scientific collaboration between the grantees and the NICHD staff. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development or the National Institutes of Health. United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development: Phase I, 1991–1994 [United States]. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2018-06-25. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR21940.v6. United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development: Phase II, 1995–1999 [United States]. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2018-06-25. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR21941.v5. United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development: Phase III, 2000–2004 [United States]. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2018-06-25. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR21942.v6. United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development: Phase IV, 2005–2007 [United States]. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2018-06-25. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR22361.v5. The current study is based in part on one of the first author’s dissertation studies. She would like to thank Drs. Frederick Danner, Claudia Health, Stephanie Stockburger, but also anonymous reviewers and the Editor, for their extremely helpful and enlightening comments on earlier drafts of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC part of Springer Nature.

Keywords

  • Callous-unemotional
  • Delinquency
  • Empathy
  • Intelligence
  • Longitudinal
  • Parenting
  • Psychopathy
  • Self-control
  • Temperament

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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