Greater fear reactivity and psychophysiological hyperactivity among infants with later conduct problems and callous-unemotional traits

William R. Mills-Koonce, Nicholas J. Wagner, Michael T. Willoughby, Cynthia Stifter, Clancy Blair, Douglas A. Granger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background Approximately one third of children who meet criteria for conduct problems (CP) are also characterized by elevated callous-unemotional (CU) traits. This subgroup is at elevated risk for more pervasive and extreme levels of later antisocial behavior and has been characterized by a fearlessness temperament and blunted stress psychophysiology at older ages. The objective of this study was to examine group differences in fear reactivity and stress psychophysiology in infancy among children classified as having CP with CU (CP + CU), CP without CU (CP only), or no CP in later childhood. Methods A birth cohort study (n = 1,292) was followed longitudinally from birth through first grade. Behavioral fear, baseline heart period (HP) and respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), and pretask, 20-min posttask, and 40-min posttask salivary cortisol were assessed at 6 and 15 months of age around a fear challenge task. CP and CU were assessed by maternal report at first grade and children were classified into CP and CU groups if they scored in the upper 10<sup>th</sup> percentile of these ratings. Results No group differences were observed in children at 6 months of age. However, at 15 months of age children with later CP + CU displayed greater high-intensity fear behavior, higher pretask and overall cortisol levels, and lower levels of HP and RSA compared to children with CP only and children with no CP. Conclusions The discrepancy between the biobehavioral correlates of conduct problems with callous-unemotional traits in infancy and those reported from studies of older children and adults suggests that the etiology of this behavioral phenotype may be more complex than a simple genetic maturation model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-154
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines
Volume56
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015

Fingerprint

Fear
Psychophysiology
Hydrocortisone
Birth Order
Temperament
Genetic Models
Cohort Studies
Mothers
Parturition
Phenotype

Keywords

  • autonomic
  • callous-unemotional traits
  • conduct problems
  • cortisol
  • Fearlessness
  • psychobiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Cite this

Greater fear reactivity and psychophysiological hyperactivity among infants with later conduct problems and callous-unemotional traits. / Mills-Koonce, William R.; Wagner, Nicholas J.; Willoughby, Michael T.; Stifter, Cynthia; Blair, Clancy; Granger, Douglas A.

In: Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, Vol. 56, No. 2, 01.02.2015, p. 147-154.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Mills-Koonce, William R. ; Wagner, Nicholas J. ; Willoughby, Michael T. ; Stifter, Cynthia ; Blair, Clancy ; Granger, Douglas A. / Greater fear reactivity and psychophysiological hyperactivity among infants with later conduct problems and callous-unemotional traits. In: Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines. 2015 ; Vol. 56, No. 2. pp. 147-154.
@article{b51f6468e3c24fbfb58a1349f3487676,
title = "Greater fear reactivity and psychophysiological hyperactivity among infants with later conduct problems and callous-unemotional traits",
abstract = "Background Approximately one third of children who meet criteria for conduct problems (CP) are also characterized by elevated callous-unemotional (CU) traits. This subgroup is at elevated risk for more pervasive and extreme levels of later antisocial behavior and has been characterized by a fearlessness temperament and blunted stress psychophysiology at older ages. The objective of this study was to examine group differences in fear reactivity and stress psychophysiology in infancy among children classified as having CP with CU (CP + CU), CP without CU (CP only), or no CP in later childhood. Methods A birth cohort study (n = 1,292) was followed longitudinally from birth through first grade. Behavioral fear, baseline heart period (HP) and respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), and pretask, 20-min posttask, and 40-min posttask salivary cortisol were assessed at 6 and 15 months of age around a fear challenge task. CP and CU were assessed by maternal report at first grade and children were classified into CP and CU groups if they scored in the upper 10th percentile of these ratings. Results No group differences were observed in children at 6 months of age. However, at 15 months of age children with later CP + CU displayed greater high-intensity fear behavior, higher pretask and overall cortisol levels, and lower levels of HP and RSA compared to children with CP only and children with no CP. Conclusions The discrepancy between the biobehavioral correlates of conduct problems with callous-unemotional traits in infancy and those reported from studies of older children and adults suggests that the etiology of this behavioral phenotype may be more complex than a simple genetic maturation model.",
keywords = "autonomic, callous-unemotional traits, conduct problems, cortisol, Fearlessness, psychobiology",
author = "Mills-Koonce, {William R.} and Wagner, {Nicholas J.} and Willoughby, {Michael T.} and Cynthia Stifter and Clancy Blair and Granger, {Douglas A.}",
year = "2015",
month = "2",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1111/jcpp.12289",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "56",
pages = "147--154",
journal = "Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines",
issn = "0021-9630",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Greater fear reactivity and psychophysiological hyperactivity among infants with later conduct problems and callous-unemotional traits

AU - Mills-Koonce, William R.

AU - Wagner, Nicholas J.

AU - Willoughby, Michael T.

AU - Stifter, Cynthia

AU - Blair, Clancy

AU - Granger, Douglas A.

PY - 2015/2/1

Y1 - 2015/2/1

N2 - Background Approximately one third of children who meet criteria for conduct problems (CP) are also characterized by elevated callous-unemotional (CU) traits. This subgroup is at elevated risk for more pervasive and extreme levels of later antisocial behavior and has been characterized by a fearlessness temperament and blunted stress psychophysiology at older ages. The objective of this study was to examine group differences in fear reactivity and stress psychophysiology in infancy among children classified as having CP with CU (CP + CU), CP without CU (CP only), or no CP in later childhood. Methods A birth cohort study (n = 1,292) was followed longitudinally from birth through first grade. Behavioral fear, baseline heart period (HP) and respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), and pretask, 20-min posttask, and 40-min posttask salivary cortisol were assessed at 6 and 15 months of age around a fear challenge task. CP and CU were assessed by maternal report at first grade and children were classified into CP and CU groups if they scored in the upper 10th percentile of these ratings. Results No group differences were observed in children at 6 months of age. However, at 15 months of age children with later CP + CU displayed greater high-intensity fear behavior, higher pretask and overall cortisol levels, and lower levels of HP and RSA compared to children with CP only and children with no CP. Conclusions The discrepancy between the biobehavioral correlates of conduct problems with callous-unemotional traits in infancy and those reported from studies of older children and adults suggests that the etiology of this behavioral phenotype may be more complex than a simple genetic maturation model.

AB - Background Approximately one third of children who meet criteria for conduct problems (CP) are also characterized by elevated callous-unemotional (CU) traits. This subgroup is at elevated risk for more pervasive and extreme levels of later antisocial behavior and has been characterized by a fearlessness temperament and blunted stress psychophysiology at older ages. The objective of this study was to examine group differences in fear reactivity and stress psychophysiology in infancy among children classified as having CP with CU (CP + CU), CP without CU (CP only), or no CP in later childhood. Methods A birth cohort study (n = 1,292) was followed longitudinally from birth through first grade. Behavioral fear, baseline heart period (HP) and respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), and pretask, 20-min posttask, and 40-min posttask salivary cortisol were assessed at 6 and 15 months of age around a fear challenge task. CP and CU were assessed by maternal report at first grade and children were classified into CP and CU groups if they scored in the upper 10th percentile of these ratings. Results No group differences were observed in children at 6 months of age. However, at 15 months of age children with later CP + CU displayed greater high-intensity fear behavior, higher pretask and overall cortisol levels, and lower levels of HP and RSA compared to children with CP only and children with no CP. Conclusions The discrepancy between the biobehavioral correlates of conduct problems with callous-unemotional traits in infancy and those reported from studies of older children and adults suggests that the etiology of this behavioral phenotype may be more complex than a simple genetic maturation model.

KW - autonomic

KW - callous-unemotional traits

KW - conduct problems

KW - cortisol

KW - Fearlessness

KW - psychobiology

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84933179151&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84933179151&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1111/jcpp.12289

DO - 10.1111/jcpp.12289

M3 - Article

VL - 56

SP - 147

EP - 154

JO - Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines

JF - Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines

SN - 0021-9630

IS - 2

ER -