UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Reduced prosocial motivation and effort in adolescents with conduct problems and callous-unemotional traits

Gaule, Anne; Martin, Peter; Lockwood, Patricia L; Cutler, Jo; Apps, Matthew; Roberts, Ruth; Phillips, Harriet; ... Viding, Essi; + view all (2024) Reduced prosocial motivation and effort in adolescents with conduct problems and callous-unemotional traits. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 10.1111/jcpp.13945. (In press). Green open access

[thumbnail of Reduced prosocial motivation and effort in adolescents with conduct problems.pdf]
Preview
Text
Reduced prosocial motivation and effort in adolescents with conduct problems.pdf - Published Version

Download (952kB) | Preview

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Prosocial behaviours - acts that benefit others - are of crucial importance for many species including humans. However, adolescents with conduct problems (CP), unlike their typically developing (TD) peers, demonstrate markedly reduced engagement in prosocial behaviours. This pattern is particularly pronounced in adolescents with CP and high levels of callous-unemotional traits (CP/HCU) who are at increased risk of developing psychopathy in adulthood. While a substantial amount of research has investigated the cognitive-affective mechanisms thought to underlie antisocial behaviour, much less is known about the mechanisms that could explain reduced prosocial behaviours in adolescents with CP. METHODS: Here we examined the willingness to exert effort to benefit oneself (self) and another person (other, prosocial condition) in children with CP/HCU, CP and lower levels of CU traits (CP/LCU) and their TD peers. The task captured both prosocial choices, and actual effort exerted following prosocial choices, in adolescent boys aged 11-16 (27 CP/HCU; 34 CP/LCU; 33 TD). We used computational modelling to reveal the mechanistic processes involved when choosing prosocial acts. RESULTS: We found that both CP/HCU and CP/LCU groups were more averse to initiating effortful prosocial acts than TD adolescents - both at a cognitive and at a behavioural level. Strikingly, even if they chose to initiate a prosocial act, the CP/HCU group exerted less effort following this prosocial choice than other groups. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate that reduced exertion of effort to benefit others may be an important factor that differentiates adolescents with CP/HCU from their peers with CP/LCU. They offer new insights into what might drive low prosocial behaviour in adolescents with CP, including vulnerabilities that may particularly characterise those with high levels of CU traits.

Type: Article
Title: Reduced prosocial motivation and effort in adolescents with conduct problems and callous-unemotional traits
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/jcpp.13945
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.13945
Language: English
Additional information: © 2024 The Authors. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: affiliation, callous-unemotional traits, Conduct problems, prosocial behaviour
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Applied Health Research
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10186487
Downloads since deposit
9Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item