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Luna C. Mu ñoz University of Central Lancashire, UK

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  1. Parenting and Youth Conduct Problems and Delinquency: Reciprocal Effects and Moderation by Callous-Unemotional Traits Luna C. Muñoz University of Central Lancashire, UK Research Methods Festival, Oxford, 2010

  2. Conduct problems Poor parenting Importance of parenting • Efforts to change parents’ behaviours depend on this link

  3. Conduct problems Poor parenting Some children may not respond Earlier Conduct problems

  4. One size may not fit all

  5. The some.... • Hawes & Dadds (2007) conducted parent-training for young children’s conduct problems • They found that children whose conduct problems were accompanied by stably-high callous and unemotional traits improved but only temporarily

  6. Callous-Unemotional Traits • Is unconcerned about the feelings of others • Doesn’t feel empathy • Does not feel any emotions deeply • Lacks fear or anxiety • Lacks remorse or regret • Sees emotions as a hindrance • Emotions do not control his/her actions

  7. Subtyping Antisocial Behavior in Children: Using Callous-Unemotional Traits • Conduct Disorder Childhood-onset Callous-Unemotional Traits Impulsive High Emotional Arousal/ Emotion Dysregulation

  8. Callous-Unemotional Traits Conduct Problems Conduct Problems CU More Severe Antisocial Behavior

  9. Conduct Problems with/without Callous-Unemotional Traits With Callous-Unemotional Traits Without Callous-Unemotional Traits

  10. Origin of Conduct Problems • Parenting • Strong emotional reactions • Thoughts – that people's actions are hostile • Inattention/ Impulsivity/ Hyperactivity • Cognitive ability – Intellectual deficits Personality

  11. These traits drive behavior • The research carried out tends to be conducted with the assumption that CU traits drive behavior with little input from the environment

  12. Callous-Unemotional Traits are Largely Inherited • Twin studies of children who display antisocial behaviors (Viding et al., 2005) • Strong genetic influence was found for children with antisocial behaviors AND callous-unemotional traits • Only modest genetic influence for children with antisocial behaviors but without callous-unemotional traits

  13. ---Low CU Traits High CU Traits Conduct Problems Ineffective Parenting

  14. Later Conduct problems Earlier Poor parenting Later Poor parenting Earlier Conduct problems ---Low CU Traits High CU Traits

  15. Origin of Conduct Problems • Parenting • Strong emotional reactions • Thoughts – that people's actions are hostile • Inattention/ Impulsivity/ Hyperactivity • Cognitive ability – Intellectual deficits Personality

  16. Later Conduct problems Earlier Poor parenting ---Low CU Traits High CU Traits Correlational

  17. Conduct problems Poor parenting ---Low CU Traits High CU Traits Later Earlier

  18. Some evidence for reciprocal direction • Hawes & Dadds (2004) found that parents of children with CU • reported that time-out was less effective, when compared to those parents of children with high levels of conduct problems but with low levels of callous-unemotional traits

  19. My argument... • A child’s lack of concern over punishment may be one reason why parents loosen control over their children • Parents may give up trying when children are delinquent, but especially with children with callous-unemotional traits • Examine bi-directionally!

  20. Why longitudinal investigations? • Wohlwill (1973) and Kessen (1960) • We need to go beyond age-related descriptions • We need to be able to clarify individual processes of development and change • Cairns & Cairns (1994) • Identify individual difference predictability • Stability over time • Rates and types of individual change • Identify periods of greatest risk and possibility for greatest change

  21. Parenting and Problem Behaviour: Callous-Unemotional Traits • 100 school children from a moderate-sized city from southeastern USA • A stratified random sampling design was used to match the selected sample to the school sample on gender, ethnicity, and SES • 76 children (mean age 13.4 years at Time 1) provided data over three years Muñoz, Pakalniskiene, & Frick. Manuscript under review

  22. Bidirectional effects one year later Low callous-unemotional High callous-unemotional Less knowledge led to less control No effect Less knowledge led to more conduct problems More conduct problems led to less control • More knowledge led to less control • Control led to more knowlege • Little effect • No effect Muñoz, Pakalniskiene, & Frick. Manuscript under review

  23. Parenting Measures • Alabama Parenting Questionnaire: Monitoring and Supervision scale

  24. Problem with monitoring measures • Many of the assessments being used assess what parents know about their children (i.e., knowledge) rather than actions to gain knowledge (i.e., monitoring)(Kerr & Stattin, 2000; Stattin & Kerr, 2000).

  25. Problem with monitoring measures • Wootton and colleagues’ (1997) study asked about whether the child hung out with peers that were unknown to the parent. • Don’t know why • Unsupervised because parents have been lax • They disobey/ sneak out The latter is part of the child’s behavior

  26. Parenting Measures • Parents’ Knowledge • Alabama Parenting Questionnaire: Monitoring and Supervision scale • Parental Monitoring • Solicitation of information from child • Parental Control • Parents’ demands that lead to knowledge

  27. Conduct Problem Measures • Youth-report: • Self-Report of Delinquency Scale (Elliott & Ageton, 1980) assesses the child’s self-report of 36 illegal juvenile acts. • Parent-report: • Behavioral Assessment System for Children-Parent Rating Scale (Reynolds & Kamphaus, 1992) • Conduct Problems scale focuses on more covert conduct problems (e.g., cheats in school, gets into trouble)

  28. Stability of parenting

  29. Prediction of parenting from parenting Control Knowledge .27***

  30. Prediction of parenting from parenting Lo=.39*** Control Knowledge Hi= -.05

  31. Prediction of parenting from parenting Lo= -.20* Knowledge Control Hi= .20

  32. Prediction of parenting from parenting Lo=.30*** Solicitation Control Hi= .07

  33. Stability differed by CU Lo=.75*** Control Control Hi=.41**

  34. Do parents affect behaviour? differing by CU groups

  35. Parenting predicts behaviour Knowledge .13/ -.15* Solicitation Delinquency / Conduct Problem -.19*/ -.04 -.01/ -.03 Control Analyses are conducted while controlling for earlier CP

  36. What parents know predicts changes in behaviour, especially for high CU Knowledge Lo= -.13 Hi= -.28* Solicitation Delinquency Control Analyses are conducted while controlling for earlier CP

  37. Does Behaviour affect Parenting? Differing by CU groups

  38. Problem behaviour leads to changes in what parents do Knowledge -.13/ .01 Solicitation Delinquency / Conduct Problems -.01/ -.06 -.26**/ .05 Control Analyses are conducted while controlling for earlier parenting

  39. And is especially true for those with high levels of CU and who are delinquent Knowledge Solicitation Delinquency Lo= -.10 Hi= -.38** Control Analyses are conducted while controlling for earlier parenting

  40. Implications for parental involvement • Parents reduce their control over time when their child shows delinquent behaviours, particularly when the child also has callous-unemotional traits. • A reduction in control leads to a less effective management of child behaviour. • Interventions need to encourage an intimate relationship between parent and child so that youths with callous-unemotional traits actively disclose information to their parents.

  41. Conduct problems Poor parenting ---Low CU Traits High CU Traits Later Earlier

  42. Conclusions • We were able to show that the relation between parenting and conduct problems can be a child-effect, which supports prior studies • Another explanation is that shared genetic effects explain child personality traits, conduct problems, and parents’ parenting (see Jaffee et al., 2004)

  43. Acknowledgments • My post-doctoral advisers: • Margaret Kerr • HåkanStattin • Their superstar graduate student: • VilmantePakalniskiene, now Dr. Vilma • My PhD supervisor: • Research Professor Paul Frick • Very grateful to Neville Butler Memorial Prize

  44. Future directions