Prediction of Pathological Personality Traits from the CBCL Dysregulation Profile among Belgian (Flemish) Children

A pattern of CBCL/6-18 syndrome scale scores designated as the Dysregulation Profile (CBCL-DP) has been identified among children in multiple societies. The CBCL-DP is defined by elevated scores on the Anxious/Depressed, Attention Problems, and Aggressive Behavior syndromes. To test the ability of the CBCL-DP to predict subsequent personality trait scores, De Caluwe et al. (2013) applied latent class analyses to CBCL syndrome scale scores obtained at ages 8-14 by 243 clinically referred and non-referred children in Flanders, the Flemish speaking region of Belgium.

The latent class analyses identified a pattern of CBCL syndrome scores corresponding to the CBCL-DP, as well as several other profile patterns. Four years later, the children’s mothers rated them on the Personality Inventory for DSM-5. After controlling for clinical status, De Caluwe et al. found that children classified as having the CBCL-DP obtained significantly higher scores than other children on the following personality traits: Hostility, risk taking, deceitfulness, callousness, grandiosity, irresponsibility, impulsivity, and manipulativeness.

The authors concluded that their “findings convincingly show the significance of early dysregulation in terms of its association with personality difficulties and hence empirically illustrate that a specific combination of scores on the various scales of the well-validated CBCL may contribute to the diagnostic process of childhood psychopathology in terms of identifying children who are prone to more maladaptive pathways of personality development” (p. 410).

Reference: De Caluwe, E., Decuyper, M., & De Clercq, B. (2013). The Child Behavior Checklist Dysregulation Profile predicts adolescent DSM-5 pathological personality traits 4 years later. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 22,401-411.