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The association between toddlerhood empathy deficits and antisocial personality disorder symptoms and psychopathy in adulthood

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 March 2020

Soo Hyun Rhee
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Colorado–Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA Institute for Behavioral Genetics, University of Colorado–Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA
Kerri Woodward
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Colorado–Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA Institute for Behavioral Genetics, University of Colorado–Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA
Robin P. Corley
Affiliation:
Institute for Behavioral Genetics, University of Colorado–Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA
Alta du Pont
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Colorado–Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA Institute for Behavioral Genetics, University of Colorado–Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA
Naomi P. Friedman
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Colorado–Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA Institute for Behavioral Genetics, University of Colorado–Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA
John K. Hewitt
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Colorado–Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA Institute for Behavioral Genetics, University of Colorado–Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA
Laura K. Hink
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Colorado–Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA Institute for Behavioral Genetics, University of Colorado–Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA
JoAnn Robinson
Affiliation:
Department of Human Development and Family Studies, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, USA
Carolyn Zahn-Waxler
Affiliation:
Center for Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, WI, USA
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

The present study examined empathy deficits in toddlerhood (age 14 to 36 months) as predictors of antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) symptoms and psychopathy measured by the Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy scale (Levenson, Kiehl, & Fitzpatrick, 1995) in adulthood (age 23 years) in 956 individuals from the Colorado Longitudinal Twin Study. Consistent with the hypothesis that antisocial behavior is associated with “active” rather than “passive” empathy deficits, early disregard for others, not lack of concern for others, predicted later ASPD symptoms. Early disregard for others was also significantly associated with factor 1 of the Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale, which includes items assessing interpersonal and affective deficits, but not with factor 2, which includes items assessing impulsivity and poor behavioral control. The association between early disregard for others and psychopathy factor 2 was near zero after controlling for the shared variance between psychopathy factors 1 and 2. These results suggest that there is a propensity toward adulthood ASPD symptoms and psychopathy factor 1 that can be assessed early in development, which may help identify individuals most at risk for stable antisocial outcomes.

Type
Regular Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2020

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The association between toddlerhood empathy deficits and antisocial personality disorder symptoms and psychopathy in adulthood
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The association between toddlerhood empathy deficits and antisocial personality disorder symptoms and psychopathy in adulthood
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The association between toddlerhood empathy deficits and antisocial personality disorder symptoms and psychopathy in adulthood
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