Health and functional outcomes for shared and unique variances of interpersonal callousness and low prosocial behavior

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Previous factor-analytic studies identify significant comorbidity between interpersonal-callous (IC) traits and low prosocial behavior (LPB), which, in turn, is associated with high levels of childhood risk exposure and psychopathology. Longitudinal associations between IC, LPB, or their combination, and early-adult health and social functioning have not been investigated, however. Extending a previously-identified bifactor model within a prospective birth cohort, this study applied latent path analysis to test direct and indirect pathways (via adolescent delinquency, substance use, and physical activity) between these general and specific factors (age 13) and (i) emotional problems (age 18), (ii) physical health problems (age 18), and (iii) classification as ‘not in education, employment, or training’ (NEET; age 20). All models controlled for childhood adversity and IQ. Bifactor-specific estimates indicated that the residual IC factor did not reliably denote unique variance over and above a general factor (IC/LPB). IC/LPB itself was directly associated with NEET classification, while the residual LPB factor was associated with better emotional and physical health. IC/LPB also indirectly associated with emotional problems via greater adolescent delinquency, and with physical health problems via lower physical activity. In contrast, residual LPB variance was either non-significantly or negatively related to these adolescent domains. Findings indicate that the shared variance underlying IC and LPB confers an increased risk for poor health and functional outcomes in emerging adulthood, and highlight delinquency and physical inactivity as potential adolescent treatment targets that may mitigate the risk for health difficulties at high levels of this IC/LPB construct.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-365
Number of pages13
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2019


  • Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC)
  • Child psychopathy
  • Interpersonal callousness
  • Low prosocial behavior
  • Psychopathology


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