Low Parental Warmth and the Development of Callousness

Extreme rejection may instill an extreme response, such as the development of callousness. There has been a great deal of recent scholarly activity in this area. Researchers report that parental warmth is associated with the development of conscience and empathy (e.g., Pasalich, Dadds, & Hawes, 2014; Waller et al., 2014). Pardini has also reported that children exposed to higher levels of parental warmth had lower levels of callous-unemotional traits (CU) (Pardini, Lochman, & Powell, 2007). Kimonis, Cross, Howard, and Donoghue (2013) found this correlation in a sample of male adolescent offenders, controlling for abuse and neglect. Waller et al. (2014) used a cross-lagged design and discovered bidirectional associations between parental warmth and child CU in preschool, establishing temporal order between the two constructs. In another study, the authors found long-1 asting effects; maternal warmth in children ages 10-12 was significantly associated with “limited prosocial emotion” at age 20 (Waller, Shaw, Forbes, & Hyde, 2015). Other authors have tendered the idea that CU and low parental warmth in combination produce a particularly undesirable outcome. Kroneman et al. found an interaction such that girls with both callous-unemotional features and exposure to low parental warmth had severe conduct problems (Kroneman, Hipwell, Loeber, Koot, & Pardini, 2011; a similar interaction was also reported by Pasalich, Dadds, Hawes, and Brennan, 2011). In summary, rejection may be an important environmental stressor leading to CU behavior in children which, alone or in combination with rejection, may produce serious antisocial behavior.

 
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