Pathways to Antisocial Behavior

The primary area of research conducted by the Developmental Psychopathology Lab focuses on understanding the different pathways through which children develop severe conduct problems, aggression, and delinquent behavior. This work focuses on understanding how risk factors both in the child and in his or her psychosocial context can influence normal developmental processes (e.g., conscience development, the development of emotional and behavioral regulation, identity development) that make the child more likely to violate the rights of others or to violate major societal norms.

Within this broad area, specific projects are largely determined by the interests of lab members. The lab tries to have ongoing projects that study these pathways at various developmental stages ranging from infants to young adults. The lab also tries to study various types of samples, including normal school samples, children and adolescents referred for mental health treatment, and adolescents in the juvenile justice system. One ongoing project is the multi-site longitudinal Crossroads Study, which has been following a sample of adolescents from three sites (Irvine, CA; Philadelphia, PA; Jefferson Parish, LA) from the time of initial arrest into young adulthood to investigate how their experiences in the juvenile justice system influence their legal, mental health, social, educational, and occupational outcomes.

Some examples of specific topics that have been a focus of recent studies in the lab include:

Differences in the current and future behavior of antisocial youth who show elevated levels of callous-unemotional traits and those who do not.

Frick, P.J., Cornell, A.H., Barry, C.T., Bodin, S.D., & Dane, H.A. (2003). Callous-unemotional traits and conduct problems in the prediction of conduct problem severity, aggression, and self-report of delinquency. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 31, 457-470.

Frick, P.J., Stickle, T.R., Dandreaux, D.M., Farrell, J.M., & Kimonis, E.R. (2005). Callous-unemotional traits in predicting the severity and stability of conduct problems and delinquency. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 33, 471-487.

Golmaryami, F.N., Frick, P.J., Hemphill, S., Kahn, R.E., Crapanzano, A.M., & Terranova, A. (2016). The social, behavioral, and emotional correlates of bullying and victimization in a school-based sample. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 44, 381-391.

Lawing, K., Frick, P.J., & Cruise, K.R. (2010). Differences in offending patterns between adolescent sex offenders high or low in callous-unemotional traits. Psychological Assessment, 22, 298-305.

Robertson, E.L., Frick, P.J., Walker, TM., Kemp, E.C., Ray, J.V., Thornton, L.C., Myers, T.D.W., Steinberg, L., & Cauffman E. (2020). Callous-unemotional traits and risk of gun carrying and use during crime. American Journal of Psychiatry, 117, 827-833.

Thornton, L.C., Frick, P.J., Ray, J.V., Myers, T.D.W., Steinberg, L., & Cauffman, E. (2019). Risky sexual behavior, substance use, and callous-unemotional traits in a sample of juvenile justice-involved males. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 48, 68-79.


Genetic, emotional, and cognitive differences between antisocial youth who show elevated levels of callous-unemotional traits and those who do not.

Ciucci, E., Kimonis, E.R., Frick, P.J., Righi, S., Baroncelli, A., Tambasco, G., & Facci, C. (2018). Attentional orienting to emotional faces moderates the association between callous-unemotional traits and peer-nominated aggression in young adolescent school children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 46, 1009-1018.

Frick, P.J., Cornell, A.H., Bodin, S.D., Dane, H.A., Barry, C.T., & Loney, B.R. (2003). Callous-Unemotional traits and developmental pathways to severe aggressive and antisocial behavior. Developmental Psychology, 39, 246-260.

Frick, P.J. & Kemp, E.C. (2021).  Conduct disorders and empathy development. Annual Review in Clinical Psychology, 17, 391-416.

Kimonis, E.R., Frick, P.J., Fazekas, H., & Loney, B.R. (2006). Psychopathy, aggression, and the processing of emotional stimuli in non-referred boys and girls Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 24, 21-37.

Kimonis, E.R., Frick, P.J., Munoz, L.C. & Aucoin, K.J. (2008). Callous-unemotional traits and the emotional processing of distress cues in detained boys: Testing the moderating role of aggression, exposure to community violence, and histories of abuse. Development and Psychopathology, 20, 569-589.

Musser, E.D., Galloway-Long, H.S., Frick, P.J., & Nigg, J.T. (2013). Emotional regulation and heterogeneity in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 52, 163-171.

Pardini, D.A., Lochman, J.E., & Frick, P.J. (2003). Callous-unemotional traits and social cognitive processes in adjudicated youth: Exploring the schema of juveniles with psychopathic traits. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 42, 364-371.

Viding, E.M., Frick, P.J., & Plomin, R. (2007). Genetic influences on the relationship between callous-unemotional traits and conduct problems in 7-year old twins. British Journal of Psychiatry, 19, s33-s38.

Viding, E., Jones, A.P., Frick, P.J., Moffitt, T.E., & Plomin, R. (2008). Heritability of antisocial behaviour at age 9: Do callous-unemotional traits matter? Developmental Science, 11, 17-22.


Social differences between antisocial youth who show elevated levels of callous-unemotional traits and those who do not.

Haas, S.M., Becker, S.P., Epstein, J.N., & Frick, P.J. (2018). Callous-unemotional traits are uniquely associated with poorer peer functioning in school-aged children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 4, 781-794.

Kimonis, E.R., Frick, P.J., & Barry, C.T. (2004). Callous-unemotional traits and delinquent peer affiliation. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72, 956-966.

Matlasz, T.M., Frick, P.J. & Clark, J.E. (2021).  Understanding the social relationships of youth with callous-unemotional traits using peer nominations. Assessment.

Thornton, L.C., Frick, P.J., Shulman, E.P., Ray, J.V., Steinberg, L., & Cauffman, E. (2015). Callous-unemotional traits and adolescents’ role in group crime. Law and Human Behavior, 39, 368-377.

Wootton, J.M., Frick, P.J., Shelton, K.K., & Silverthorn, P. (1997). Ineffective parenting and childhood conduct problems: The moderating role of callous-unemotional traits. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 65, 301-308.


Causal mechanisms that can lead to callous-unemotional traits.

Humayun, S., Kahn, R.E., Frick, P.J., & Viding, E. (2014). Callous-unemotional traits and anxiety in a community sample of 7-year-olds. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 43, 36-42.

Kahn, R.E., Frick, P.J., Golmaryami, F.N., & Marsee, M.A. (2017). The moderating role of anxiety in the associations of callous-unemotional traits with self-report and laboratory measures of affective and cognitive empathy. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 45, 583-596.

Kahn, R.E., Frick, P.J., Youngstrom, E.A., Youngstrom, J.K., Feeny, K.C., & Findling, R.L. (2013).Distinguishing primary and secondary variants of callous-unemotional traits among adolescents in a clinic-referred sample. Psychological Assessment, 25. 966-978.

Kimonis, E.R., Frick, P.J., Cauffman, E., Goldweber, A., & Skeem, J. (2012). Primary and secondary variants of juvenile psychopathy differ in emotional processing. Development and Psychopathology, 24, 1091-1103.


Interactions between individual and contextual characteristics in the development of serious conduct problems.

Aucoin, K.J., Frick, P.J., & Bodin, S.D. (2006). Corporal punishment and child adjustment. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 27, 527-541.

Cornell, A. H. & Frick, P.J. (2007). The contribution of parenting styles and behavioral inhibition to the development of conscience in preschool children. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 36, 305-318.

Kimonis, E.R., Centifanti, L.C.M., Allen, J.L., & Frick, P.J. (2014). Reciprocal influences between negative life events and callous-unemotional traits. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 42, 1287-1298.

Munoz, L.C., Pakalniskiene,V., & Frick, P.J. (2011). Parental monitoring and youth behavior problems: Moderation by callous-unemotional traits over time European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 20, 261-269.

Ray, J.V., Frick, P.J., Thornton, L.C., Steinberg, L., & Cauffman, E. (2016). Impulse control and callous-unemotional traits distinguish patterns of delinquency and substance use in justice involved adolescents: Examining the moderating role of neighborhood context. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 44, 599-611.

Ray, J.V., Frick, P.J., Thornton, L.C., Wall, T.D., Steinberg, L., & Cauffman, E. (2017). Callous–unemotional traits predict self-reported offending in adolescent boys: The mediating role of delinquent peers and the moderating role of parenting practices. Developmental Psychology, 53, 319-328.

Vaughan, E.P., Frick, P.J., Ray, J.V., Robertson, E.L., Thornton, L.C. Myers, T., Steinberg, L., & Cauffman, E. (2021).  The associations of maternal warmth and hostility with prosocial and antisocial outcomes in justice-involved adolescents. Developmental Psychology, 57,2179-2191.

Wall, T.D., Frick, P.J., Fanti, K.A., Kimonis, E.R., & Lordos, A. (2016). Factors differentiating callous-unemotional children with and without conduct problems. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 57, 976-983.


Sex differences in the expression of antisocial and aggressive behavior.

Crapanzano, A.M., Frick, P.J., Childs, K., & Terranova, A.M. (2011). Gender differences in the assessment, stability, and correlates to bullying roles in middle school children. Behavioral Science & the Law, 29, 677-694.

Crapanzano, A.M., Frick, P.J., & Terranova, A. M. (2010). Patterns of physical and relational aggression in a school-based sample of boys and girls. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 38, 433-445.

Marsee, M.A., Silverthorn, P., & Frick, P.J. (2005). The association of psychopathic traits with aggression and delinquency in non-referred boys and girls. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 23, 803-817.