A preliminary examination of the intergenerational continuity of maternal psychopathic features.


The study provided a preliminary test of the intergenerational continuity of maternal psychopathic features in a non-referred elementary aged sample of children. Consistent with dominant etiological models and recent behavioral genetics research, a direct association was expected between maternal and child affective features of psychopathy (i.e., callous-unemotional or CU traits). Potential mediators representative of alternative transmission mechanisms were assessed including parenting dysfunction, parental hostility/interpersonal insensitivity, and child impulsivity. Behavioral features of psychopathy were also assessed and were predicted to bear weaker and more indirect parent-child associations. A mixed sex sample of 83 children accompanied by a biological mother were administered a multi-informant rating-scale battery including separate parent (i.e., Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale) and child (i.e., Antisocial Process Screening Device) measures of psychopathy. Consistent with prediction, a significant association was documented between maternal and child CU traits (r=.22). Additionally, a slightly weaker association and statistical trend (r=.21) was observed in the relation between maternal and child interpersonal features of the psychopathy construct. Contrary to prediction, all documented associations were fully mediated by parental hostility and parenting dysfunction. Given the preliminary nature of study findings, implications for developmental modeling and future intergenerational continuity research are discussed.

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@article{Loney2007APE, title={A preliminary examination of the intergenerational continuity of maternal psychopathic features.}, author={Bryan R. Loney and Angela Huntenburg and Carla Counts-Allan and Kelly M Schmeelk}, journal={Aggressive behavior}, year={2007}, volume={33 1}, pages={14-25} }