Callous‐unemotional (CU) traits are a risk factor for severe and persistent patterns of juvenile delinquency. Given the influence of CU trait assessments in justice‐system settings, it is important to determine whether the predictive utility of CU traits is conditional on the absence of protective psychosocial factors. Employing a sample of justice‐involved male youth (N = 1,216, Mage = 15.29), this study examined whether psychosocial maturity (PSM) outweighs or attenuates the effect of CU traits on delinquency. Results indicated that youth with high CU traits or low PSM offended more during the year following their first arrest. Additionally, PSM moderated the relation between CU traits and offending, such that higher PSM was associated with less offending but only among low CU youth.
Cortney Simmons Adam Fine Alissa Knowles Paul J. Frick Laurence Steinberg Elizabeth Cauffman
Child Development, 27 October 2018