Kids, Callousness, and Risk of Violence

So, we seem to be focused a lot on risk of violence these days.
A burgeoning body of research is suggestive that “callous-unemotional traits delineate a group of youth at risk for severe and violent antisocial behavior that often persists into adulthood.” And that “[these traits are also associated with increased risk of adult psychopathy.”
Callous-Unemotional Traits in Children: Researchers Identify Link to Severe and Violent Antisocial Behavior, Essi Viding
Viding et al noted a “substantial genetic overlap between callous-unemotional traits and antisocial behavior….”
Cast in stone? Doomed to a life of violence?
Not necessarily:
“…although genetic vulnerability is likely to play a role in the development of callous-unemotional traits and accompanying antisocial behavior, phenotypic expression may require specific environmental circumstances.”
Thus, because “callous-unemotional traits are malleable”, there is room for intervention.
Some issues raised for tailoring interventions:
  • Questions of neurocognitive vulnerability
  • Assessing environmental factors that increase risk
One hurdle to overcome is society’s misperception that juveniles are “little adults” and that interventions for adults apply.
Another is that diagnoses such as Oppositional Defiant Disorder and the more serious Conduct Disorder evolve into Antisocial Personality Disorder. Although there is research that indicates that some children with a diagnosis of Oppositional Defiant Disorder will later be diagnosed with Conduct Disorder, and that some youths with Conduct Disorder will later be diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder, there is no die-hard trajectory.
One context in which violence of various forms occurs is “bullying.” This has been the subject of considerable attention and legal ramifications.
Bullying rears its ugly head in many forms:
  • Physical
  • Via damage
  • Verbally
  • Emotionally
  • Via cyberbullying
And there are forms of prejudice-related bullying:
  • Race/culture
  • Religion
  • Physical appearance
  • Sexist
  • Age-related
  • LGBT
  • Disability/health-related
Let me know if you might be interested in the (19-page) outline of my presentation: The Many Faces of Prejudice-Related Bullying
In addition to various aspects of bullying, I reviewed legal solutions, criminal bullying behaviors, and possible diagnoses.

One thought on “Kids, Callousness, and Risk of Violence

  1. Pingback: Early Violent Behavior Increases Chance of Post-Diagnosis Violence | NAMI South Bay

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