Callous-unemotional interpersonal style in DSM-V: what does this mean for the UK SEBD population?

Warren, Laura; Jones, Alice P. and Frederickson, Norah. 2014. Callous-unemotional interpersonal style in DSM-V: what does this mean for the UK SEBD population? Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties, 20(3), pp. 317-330. ISSN 1363-2752 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The definition of conduct disorder in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.; DSMV) includes a new ‘limited prosocial emotions’ specifier, designed to assist in the identification of those with more severe and persistent difficulties and the better targeting of interventions. This study set out to investigate its relevance to pupils with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD) in the United Kingdom who might meet the criteria for a diagnosis of conduct disorder (CD). Limited prosocial emotions were assessed using a measure of callous-unemotional (CU) interpersonal style, and their relationship with social behaviour, social status and self-concept was investigated among children aged 8–11 years with identified SEBD (N = 54) using teacher, peer and self-report measures. Findings demonstrated that higher scores on the specifier were associated with more severe problems in all but one of the domains investigated. Higher CU scores were positively associated with teacher and peer-assessed antisocial behaviour and with social rejection. The association between CU scores and social acceptance by peers was negative. However, associations between CU scores and self-perceptions, including social self-perception, were small and non-significant. Thus, despite being socially rejected and rated more negatively by peers than children with low CU levels, the social self-concept of children with elevated CU levels was not lower. Implications for assessment and the differentiation of interventions are considered.

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Identification Number (DOI):


callous-unemotional interpersonal style, social status, self-concept, social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Psychology > Unit for School and Family Studies


6 October 2014Published

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Date Deposited:

14 Oct 2014 13:45

Last Modified:

21 Feb 2019 16:19

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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