Examining the association between callous-unemotional traits, bullying and victimization in preschoolers
Peer victimization and bullying are a widespread problem among children, which can lead to mental, behavioral and physical adjustment problems. Due to these excessive costs, much attention has been directed at identifying and examining risk factors for engaging in bullying behaviors. Previous research has examined callous-unemotional (CU) traits as a risk factor for bullying and victimization. The present study examined the impact of CU traits in putting preschoolers at risk for bullying and victimization as well as how social-neuro-cognitive variables may moderate this relation. CU traits were a significant predictor for both bullying and victimization. Furthermore, cognitive inhibition and verbal intelligence moderated the relation between CU traits and bullying. However, no moderation effects were found for victimization. Other frequently studied predictors, such as age or income, did not discriminate within the sample. These findings suggest that in a preschool sample, CU traits not only serve as risk factors for bullying and being victimized, but are also associated with normative social cognitive functioning.