Interpersonal callousness and co-occurring anxiety: Developmental validity of an adolescent taxonomy

Alan Meehan, Barbara Maughan, Charlotte A M Cecil, Edward D. Barker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)
236 Downloads (Pure)


Growing evidence suggests heterogeneity within interpersonal-callous (IC) youth based on co-occurring anxiety. The developmental validity of this proposed taxonomy remains unclear however, as most previous research is cross-sectional and/or limited to adolescence. We aimed to identify low-anxiety (IC/ANX±) and high-anxiety (IC/ANX-) IC variants, and compare these groups on (a) early risk exposures, (b) psychiatric symptoms from midchildhood to early adolescence, and (c) school-based functioning. Using the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), a prospective epidemiological birth cohort, modelbased cluster analysis was performed on children with complete age-13 IC and anxiety scores (n = 6,791). Analysis of variance was used to compare resulting clusters on (a) prenatal and postnatal family adversity and maternal psychopathology, and harsh parenting; (b) developmental differences in attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), conduct disorder (CD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), emotional difficulties, and low pro-social behavior at 7, 10, and 13 years; and (c) teacher-reported discipline problems, along with standardized test performance. We identified a 4-cluster solution: "typical," "low," "IC/ANX±", and "IC/ANX-." IC/ANX- youth showed the highest prenatal and postnatal levels of family adversity and maternal psychopathology, highest levels of ADHD, CD, ODD, and emotional difficulties, greatest discipline problems, and lowest national test scores (all p

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-236
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Issue number2
Early online date15 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017


  • Anxiety
  • Avon longitudinal study of parents and children
  • Interpersonal callousness
  • Psychopathology
  • Risk factors


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