Violence Exposure Subtypes Differentially Mediate the Relation between Callous-Unemotional Traits and Adolescent Delinquency.J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2017 Nov; 45(8):1565-1575.JA
Research with children and adolescents has established a link between callous-unemotional (CU) traits and delinquency, as well as a link between violence exposure (witnessing and direct victimization) and diverse negative and antisocial outcomes. Little attention has been paid to investigating the association among CU traits, violence exposure, and various forms of delinquency. Using a sample of 753 adolescents (male =58%; African American =46%), the current study aimed to elucidate the mediating role of violence exposure (measured in grades 7, 8, 10, 11) on the relationship between CU traits measured in grade 7 and later delinquency (i.e., property, violent, drug, and sexual) assessed in grade 12. Total violence exposure (witnessing and direct victimization) mediated the association between CU traits and all forms of delinquency. When looking at witnessing and direct victimization separately, however, only witnessing violence mediated the relationship between CU traits and all forms of delinquency. These results highlight the importance of violence exposure in the CU-delinquency link, and showed the differential roles of indirect and direct forms of violence exposure on the association. Witnessing and direct victimization may involve different underlying mechanisms influencing developmental outcomes in youth. These findings have important implications for understanding developmental models of violence exposure, CU traits, and delinquency, as well as interventions for youth who have experienced both indirect and direct forms of violence.