Callous-Unemotional Traits Among Adolescents with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Associations with Parenting

Child Psychiatry Hum Dev. 2017 Feb;48(1):18-31. doi: 10.1007/s10578-016-0649-0.


This study examined the extent to which positive and negative parenting relates to conduct problems (CP) and callous-unemotional (CU) traits among 172 adolescents (72 % males; Mage = 16.91 years, SD = .67) with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and whether CU traits moderate the link between parenting and CP. Mothers reported on their adolescents' CP, CU traits, and their own parenting practices. Maternal behaviors were observed during a problem-solving communication task. Parents who engaged in more positive parenting (self-reported and observed) reported their adolescents as having lower levels of CU traits. No effect was found for negative parenting. Moderation analyses indicated that lower levels of positive maternal behavior was only associated with higher CP in the presence of higher levels of CU traits. Negative parenting was positively related to CP regardless of CU traits. Positive parenting, irrespective of measurement approach, uniquely relates to adolescents' CU traits while both positive and negative parenting relate to CP.

Keywords: ADHD; Adolescence; Callous-unemotional traits; Conduct problems; Parenting.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology
  • Adult
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity* / diagnosis
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity* / etiology
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity* / psychology
  • Behavior Observation Techniques
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maternal Behavior / psychology*
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Parents / psychology
  • Problem Behavior*
  • Psychopathology
  • Statistics as Topic