Date of Award

Summer 8-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Christopher Barry

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Tammy Barry

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Jon Mandracchia

Committee Member 3 Department


Committee Member 4

Gilbert Parr

Committee Member 4 Department



The current study examined the interrelations among callous-unemotional (CU) traits, a history of parental incarceration, and juvenile delinquency. More specifically, although research suggests that both CU traits and parental incarceration are predictors of juvenile delinquent behaviors, their interaction in influencing such behaviors had yet to be investigated. Two-hundred thirteen (213) adolescents (201 males, 12 females) who were enlisted in a residential program designed for adolescents that dropped out of school participated in this study. Participants ranged in age from 16 to 19 (M = 16.92; SD = .77). Higher levels of overall CU traits reported by the adolescent significantly predicted higher levels of juvenile delinquency; however, no additive effect was observed for adolescents high in overall CU traits with a history of parental incarceration, suggesting that parental incarceration does not significantly influence the delinquency of those adolescents already high in overall CU traits. Low levels of overall CU traits reported by adolescents combined with a history of no parental incarceration predicted the lowest levels of juvenile delinquency. However, parental incarceration was associated with higher delinquency among adolescents with relatively low levels of CU traits. Therefore, high levels of CU traits may delineate a specific set of adolescents at high risk of engaging in juvenile delinquency, whereas parental incarceration may be particularly relevant for youth low in CU traits. These findings point to the need for future research that further examines the relations between CU traits and parental incarceration on juvenile delinquency, as well as future intervention efforts that target more specific risk factors, such as uncaring traits, based on adolescent characteristics.