Relational Aggression in Adolescents with Conduct Disorder: Sex Differences and Behavioral Correlates

Katharina Ackermann, Marietta Kirchner, Anka Bernhard, Anne Martinelli, Chrysanthi Anomitri, Rosalind Baker, Sarah Baumann, Roberta Dochnal, Aranzazu Fernandez-Rivas, Karen Gonzalez-Madruga, Beate Herpertz-Dahlmann, Amaia Hervas, Lucres Jansen, Kristina Kapornai, Linda Kersten, Gregor Kohls, Ronald Limprecht, Helen Lazaratou, Ana McLaughlin, Helena Oldenhof & 10 others Jack C. Rogers, R. ka Siklósi, Areti Smaragdi, Esther Vivanco-Gonzalez, Christina Stadler, Graeme Fairchild, Arne Popma, Stephane A. de Brito, Kerstin Konrad, Christine M. Freitag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

As most research on conduct disorder (CD) has been conducted on male participants, it has been suggested that female-specific symptoms may be underestimated based on current DSM-5 criteria. In particular, relational aggression, i.e. the hurtful, often indirect, manipulation of relationships with the intention of damaging the other’s social position, has been proposed as a characteristic of CD that is more common in females. In addition, sex-specific studies on correlates of relational aggressive behavior are lacking. Relational aggression may be strongly related to the correlates of proactive aggression, namely low affective empathy, and high levels of callous-unemotional (CU) traits and relational victimization. Thus, the present study investigated sex differences in relational aggression, and associations between relational aggression and correlates of proactive aggression in 662 adolescents with CD (403 females) and 849 typically-developing controls (568 females) aged 9–18 years (M = 14.74, SD = 2.34) from the European multi-site FemNAT-CD study. Females with CD showed significantly higher levels of relational aggression compared to males with CD, whereas no sex differences were seen in controls. Relational aggression was only partly related to correlates of proactive aggression in CD: Independent of sex, CU traits showed a positive association with relational aggression. In females only, cognitive, but not affective empathy, was negatively associated with relational aggression. Relational victimization was more strongly associated with relational aggression in males compared to females. Despite interesting sex specific correlates of relational aggression, effects are small and the potential clinical implications should be investigated in future studies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Cite this

Ackermann, Katharina ; Kirchner, Marietta ; Bernhard, Anka ; Martinelli, Anne ; Anomitri, Chrysanthi ; Baker, Rosalind ; Baumann, Sarah ; Dochnal, Roberta ; Fernandez-Rivas, Aranzazu ; Gonzalez-Madruga, Karen ; Herpertz-Dahlmann, Beate ; Hervas, Amaia ; Jansen, Lucres ; Kapornai, Kristina ; Kersten, Linda ; Kohls, Gregor ; Limprecht, Ronald ; Lazaratou, Helen ; McLaughlin, Ana ; Oldenhof, Helena ; Rogers, Jack C. ; Siklósi, R. ka ; Smaragdi, Areti ; Vivanco-Gonzalez, Esther ; Stadler, Christina ; Fairchild, Graeme ; Popma, Arne ; de Brito, Stephane A. ; Konrad, Kerstin ; Freitag, Christine M. / Relational Aggression in Adolescents with Conduct Disorder: Sex Differences and Behavioral Correlates. In: Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. 2019.
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title = "Relational Aggression in Adolescents with Conduct Disorder: Sex Differences and Behavioral Correlates",
abstract = "As most research on conduct disorder (CD) has been conducted on male participants, it has been suggested that female-specific symptoms may be underestimated based on current DSM-5 criteria. In particular, relational aggression, i.e. the hurtful, often indirect, manipulation of relationships with the intention of damaging the other’s social position, has been proposed as a characteristic of CD that is more common in females. In addition, sex-specific studies on correlates of relational aggressive behavior are lacking. Relational aggression may be strongly related to the correlates of proactive aggression, namely low affective empathy, and high levels of callous-unemotional (CU) traits and relational victimization. Thus, the present study investigated sex differences in relational aggression, and associations between relational aggression and correlates of proactive aggression in 662 adolescents with CD (403 females) and 849 typically-developing controls (568 females) aged 9–18 years (M = 14.74, SD = 2.34) from the European multi-site FemNAT-CD study. Females with CD showed significantly higher levels of relational aggression compared to males with CD, whereas no sex differences were seen in controls. Relational aggression was only partly related to correlates of proactive aggression in CD: Independent of sex, CU traits showed a positive association with relational aggression. In females only, cognitive, but not affective empathy, was negatively associated with relational aggression. Relational victimization was more strongly associated with relational aggression in males compared to females. Despite interesting sex specific correlates of relational aggression, effects are small and the potential clinical implications should be investigated in future studies.",
author = "Katharina Ackermann and Marietta Kirchner and Anka Bernhard and Anne Martinelli and Chrysanthi Anomitri and Rosalind Baker and Sarah Baumann and Roberta Dochnal and Aranzazu Fernandez-Rivas and Karen Gonzalez-Madruga and Beate Herpertz-Dahlmann and Amaia Hervas and Lucres Jansen and Kristina Kapornai and Linda Kersten and Gregor Kohls and Ronald Limprecht and Helen Lazaratou and Ana McLaughlin and Helena Oldenhof and Rogers, {Jack C.} and Sikl{\'o}si, {R. ka} and Areti Smaragdi and Esther Vivanco-Gonzalez and Christina Stadler and Graeme Fairchild and Arne Popma and {de Brito}, {Stephane A.} and Kerstin Konrad and Freitag, {Christine M.}",
year = "2019",
doi = "10.1007/s10802-019-00541-6",
language = "English",
journal = "Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology",
issn = "0091-0627",
publisher = "Springer New York",

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Ackermann, K, Kirchner, M, Bernhard, A, Martinelli, A, Anomitri, C, Baker, R, Baumann, S, Dochnal, R, Fernandez-Rivas, A, Gonzalez-Madruga, K, Herpertz-Dahlmann, B, Hervas, A, Jansen, L, Kapornai, K, Kersten, L, Kohls, G, Limprecht, R, Lazaratou, H, McLaughlin, A, Oldenhof, H, Rogers, JC, Siklósi, RK, Smaragdi, A, Vivanco-Gonzalez, E, Stadler, C, Fairchild, G, Popma, A, de Brito, SA, Konrad, K & Freitag, CM 2019, 'Relational Aggression in Adolescents with Conduct Disorder: Sex Differences and Behavioral Correlates' Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-019-00541-6

Relational Aggression in Adolescents with Conduct Disorder: Sex Differences and Behavioral Correlates. / Ackermann, Katharina; Kirchner, Marietta; Bernhard, Anka; Martinelli, Anne; Anomitri, Chrysanthi; Baker, Rosalind; Baumann, Sarah; Dochnal, Roberta; Fernandez-Rivas, Aranzazu; Gonzalez-Madruga, Karen; Herpertz-Dahlmann, Beate; Hervas, Amaia; Jansen, Lucres; Kapornai, Kristina; Kersten, Linda; Kohls, Gregor; Limprecht, Ronald; Lazaratou, Helen; McLaughlin, Ana; Oldenhof, Helena; Rogers, Jack C.; Siklósi, R. ka; Smaragdi, Areti; Vivanco-Gonzalez, Esther; Stadler, Christina; Fairchild, Graeme; Popma, Arne; de Brito, Stephane A.; Konrad, Kerstin; Freitag, Christine M.

In: Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Relational Aggression in Adolescents with Conduct Disorder: Sex Differences and Behavioral Correlates

AU - Ackermann, Katharina

AU - Kirchner, Marietta

AU - Bernhard, Anka

AU - Martinelli, Anne

AU - Anomitri, Chrysanthi

AU - Baker, Rosalind

AU - Baumann, Sarah

AU - Dochnal, Roberta

AU - Fernandez-Rivas, Aranzazu

AU - Gonzalez-Madruga, Karen

AU - Herpertz-Dahlmann, Beate

AU - Hervas, Amaia

AU - Jansen, Lucres

AU - Kapornai, Kristina

AU - Kersten, Linda

AU - Kohls, Gregor

AU - Limprecht, Ronald

AU - Lazaratou, Helen

AU - McLaughlin, Ana

AU - Oldenhof, Helena

AU - Rogers, Jack C.

AU - Siklósi, R. ka

AU - Smaragdi, Areti

AU - Vivanco-Gonzalez, Esther

AU - Stadler, Christina

AU - Fairchild, Graeme

AU - Popma, Arne

AU - de Brito, Stephane A.

AU - Konrad, Kerstin

AU - Freitag, Christine M.

PY - 2019

Y1 - 2019

N2 - As most research on conduct disorder (CD) has been conducted on male participants, it has been suggested that female-specific symptoms may be underestimated based on current DSM-5 criteria. In particular, relational aggression, i.e. the hurtful, often indirect, manipulation of relationships with the intention of damaging the other’s social position, has been proposed as a characteristic of CD that is more common in females. In addition, sex-specific studies on correlates of relational aggressive behavior are lacking. Relational aggression may be strongly related to the correlates of proactive aggression, namely low affective empathy, and high levels of callous-unemotional (CU) traits and relational victimization. Thus, the present study investigated sex differences in relational aggression, and associations between relational aggression and correlates of proactive aggression in 662 adolescents with CD (403 females) and 849 typically-developing controls (568 females) aged 9–18 years (M = 14.74, SD = 2.34) from the European multi-site FemNAT-CD study. Females with CD showed significantly higher levels of relational aggression compared to males with CD, whereas no sex differences were seen in controls. Relational aggression was only partly related to correlates of proactive aggression in CD: Independent of sex, CU traits showed a positive association with relational aggression. In females only, cognitive, but not affective empathy, was negatively associated with relational aggression. Relational victimization was more strongly associated with relational aggression in males compared to females. Despite interesting sex specific correlates of relational aggression, effects are small and the potential clinical implications should be investigated in future studies.

AB - As most research on conduct disorder (CD) has been conducted on male participants, it has been suggested that female-specific symptoms may be underestimated based on current DSM-5 criteria. In particular, relational aggression, i.e. the hurtful, often indirect, manipulation of relationships with the intention of damaging the other’s social position, has been proposed as a characteristic of CD that is more common in females. In addition, sex-specific studies on correlates of relational aggressive behavior are lacking. Relational aggression may be strongly related to the correlates of proactive aggression, namely low affective empathy, and high levels of callous-unemotional (CU) traits and relational victimization. Thus, the present study investigated sex differences in relational aggression, and associations between relational aggression and correlates of proactive aggression in 662 adolescents with CD (403 females) and 849 typically-developing controls (568 females) aged 9–18 years (M = 14.74, SD = 2.34) from the European multi-site FemNAT-CD study. Females with CD showed significantly higher levels of relational aggression compared to males with CD, whereas no sex differences were seen in controls. Relational aggression was only partly related to correlates of proactive aggression in CD: Independent of sex, CU traits showed a positive association with relational aggression. In females only, cognitive, but not affective empathy, was negatively associated with relational aggression. Relational victimization was more strongly associated with relational aggression in males compared to females. Despite interesting sex specific correlates of relational aggression, effects are small and the potential clinical implications should be investigated in future studies.

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UR - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30949882

U2 - 10.1007/s10802-019-00541-6

DO - 10.1007/s10802-019-00541-6

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JO - Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

JF - Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

SN - 0091-0627

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