Low Social Affiliation Predicts Increases in Callous-Unemotional Behaviors in Early Childhood

Low social affiliation in early childhood has long been thought to be associated with callous-unemotional (CU) behaviors, which predict risk for aggression and rule-breaking. However, past studies have not established observational methods to objectively assess social affiliation, nor suggested solutions that can buffer pathways from low social affiliation to CU behaviors. In order to remedy this, a study conducted by Samantha Perlstein, PISC Senior Scholar Rebecca Waller, PhD, Nicholas J. Wagner, and Kimberly J. Saudino analyzed data from a longitudinal twin study of 628 children. The study found that the Bayley's Behavior Rating Scale and Infant Behavior Record, which is an objective scale already widely used in pediatric settings, reliably indexed low social affiliation and risk for CU behaviors. In conclusion, the authors write that, "The dynamic interplay between parenting and low child social affiliation represents an important future target for novel individual- and dyadic-targeted treatments to reduce risk for CU behaviors."

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