This study investigated the interrelations among trauma exposure, emotional numbing, and callous-unemotional traits in a sample of 276 youth (68 girls and 208 boys) recruited from 2 juvenile detention centers. Youth completed interview measures of trauma exposure and betrayal trauma, as well as self-report measures of emotional numbing and callous-unemotional traits. Results of path analyses using nonparametric bootstrapping procedures indicated findings consistent with the hypothesis that the association between trauma exposure and callous-unemotional traits was mediated by the general numbing of emotions, R(2) = .40, and also specifically by numbing of sadness, R(2) = .27. In addition, further analyses indicated that numbing of fear, R(2) = .18, and sadness, R(2) = .26, statistically mediated the relations to callous-unemotional traits only for those traumatic experiences involving betrayal. Gender was not found to moderate these effects.
Copyright © 2012 International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.