Callous–unemotional traits

Relevance and implications for juvenile justice

Authored by: James V. Ray , Tina D. Wall Myers

Routledge International Handbook of Psychopathy and Crime

Print publication date:  August  2018
Online publication date:  August  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138085169
eBook ISBN: 9781315111476
Adobe ISBN:


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Youth with callous–unemotional traits exhibit the greatest likelihood of psychopathy and are often the most serious, violent offenders. The unique factors underlying the antisocial behavior of youth with CU traits makes diagnosis an important factor to be considered for predicting those youth that are most at risk for reoffending and tailoring treatment to their specific needs. It is important that practitioners, however, take precaution when using such diagnoses for decision-making and that research continues to develop and enhance clinical measures specifically geared toward informing such decisions. It is our recommendation that the diagnosis of CU traits should be used to aid decision-making when such diagnoses are accompanied by broader risk assessment tools. That is, such decisions should not be made solely on the diagnosis of CU traits; decision-makers should consider the entirety of the social history of each youth. It is also critical that practitioners consider the current state of the research when CU traits are used to inform juvenile justice decisions. With that being said, more research on CU traits and their implications for juvenile justice are necessary to help inform such decisions.

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