Longitudinal associations among primary and secondary psychopathic traits, anxiety, and borderline personality disorder features across adolescence. Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The individual and societal burden of psychopathy warrants an investigation into identifying its early precursors and developmental course. Accordingly, we examined the longitudinal pathways between primary and secondary psychopathic traits, anxiety, and borderline personality disorder (BPD) features across adolescence. Participants included 572 Canadian adolescents (253 girls; aged 13.96 [SD = 0.37] in Grade 8; 70.6% Caucasian) who were assessed annually on five occasions (Grades 8-12) using the Antisocial Process Screening Device (psychopathic traits), the Behavior Assessment System for Children-2 (symptoms of anxiety), and the Borderline Personality Features Scale for Children (features of BPD). Autoregressive latent trajectory models with structured residuals provided stringent tests of within-person cross-lagged associations, while controlling for sex, race/ethnicity, household income, and parental education. Results indicated that primary psychopathic traits were preceded by and predicted anxiety such that individuals who increased in primary psychopathic traits subsequently declined in anxiety, and vice versa. Results also indicated that BPD features were associated with secondary psychopathic traits and anxiety. Specifically, increases in BPD features were linked with increases in secondary psychopathic traits and anxiety. Our results suggest that even after accounting for between-person associations and other known correlates, the development of psychopathic traits is embedded within the development of emotional characteristics and personality features. This highlights areas for intervention in adolescence, particularly around the core, shared trait of impulsivity and anger. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

publication date

  • July 2019