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  • Lindberg, Nina; Oshukova, Svetlana; Miettunen, Jouko; Kaltiala-Heino, Riittakerttu (2016)
    Background: More research is needed to improve our understanding of the manifestation of psychopathic traits in violently offending girls. Our aim here was to assess psychopathic traits and psychopathy-related background variables in a Finnish nationwide consecutive sample of girls charged with violent crimes and referred to a pretrial forensic psychiatric examination. These girls were then compared to their male counterparts. Methods: The forensic psychiatric examination statements of 15-to 17-year-old juveniles who underwent a pretrial forensic psychiatric examination over a 31-year period (1980-2010) were reviewed. For each non-psychotic girl with a normal IQ (n = 25), an age-and offence type-matched male control was randomly selected. Offence and offender characteristics were collected from the forensic psychiatric examination reports, and a file-based assessment of psychopathic traits was performed using the Hare psychopathy checklist-youth version. Results: Approximately every third girl exhibited high traits of psychopathy, and no significant difference was observed between the genders. Focusing on the underlying factor and item scores, the girls scored significantly lower than boys on the Antisocial factor. Their interpersonal relationships were significantly more unstable and they significantly more often exhibited a history of child sexual abuse. During the index offence the girls were significantly less frequently intoxicated, and their victims were significantly more often family members or current or ex-intimates but significantly less often strangers. Conclusions: Although violently offending girls and boys do not differ on psychopathy total scores, significant gender differences exist on underlying factor and item scores as well as in background-and offence-related variables. Interventions should take into account these special features of violent girls.
  • Sourander, Andre; Ristkari, Terja; Kurki, Marjo; Gilbert, Sonja; Hinkka-Yli-Salomäki, Susanna; Kinnunen, Malin; Pulkki-Råback, Laura; McGrath, Patrick J. (2022)
    Background: There is a lack of effectiveness studies when digital parent training programs are implemented in real-world practice. The efficacy of the internet-based and telephone-assisted Finnish Strongest Families Smart Website (SFSW) parent training intervention on the disruptive behavior of 4-year-old children was studied in a randomized controlled trial setting in Southwest Finland between 2011 and 2013. After that, the intervention was implemented nationwide in child health clinics from 2015 onwards. Objective: The main aim of this study was to compare the treatment characteristics and effectiveness of the SFSW parent training intervention between the families who received the intervention when it was implemented as a normal practice in child health clinics and the families who received the same intervention during the randomized controlled trial. Methods: The implementation group comprised 600 families who were recruited in the SFSW intervention between January 2015 and May 2017 in real-world implementation. The RCT intervention group comprised 232 families who were recruited between October 2011 and November 2013. The same demographic and child and parent measures were collected from both study groups and were compared using linear mixed-effect models for repeated measurements. The child psychopathology and functioning level were measured using the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) version 1.5-5 for preschool children, the Inventory of Callous-Unemotional Traits (ICU), and a modified version of the Barkley Home Situations Questionnaire. Parenting skills were measured using the 31-item Parenting Scale and the shorter 21-item Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-21). The estimated child and parent outcomes were adjusted for CBCL externalizing scores at baseline, maternal education, duration of the behavior problems, and paternal age. The baseline measurements of each outcome were used as covariates. Results: The implementation group was more likely to complete the intervention than the RCT intervention group (514/600, 85.7% vs 176/232, 75.9%, respectively; P Conclusions: The internet-based and telephone-assisted SFSW parent training intervention was effectively implemented in real-world settings. These findings have implications for addressing the unmet needs of children with disruptive behavior problems. Our initiative could also provide a quick socially distanced solution for the considerable mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Backman, Heidi; Laajasalo, Taina; Jokela, Markus; Aronen, Eeva T. (2018)
    Friendships and romantic relationships may function as protective and risk factors for psychopathic traits. To better understand potential causal associations, we investigated whether within-individual changes in relationship characteristics were related to changes in psychopathic traits over time. Data were derived from ten repeated measurements of the Pathways to Desistance longitudinal study of 1354 offending adolescents (14.3% female; 40.1% Black). Analyses were adjusted for age, gender, ethnicity, self-reported offending and living facilities. Relationships of high quality were associated with lower psychopathic traits, whereas antisocial behavior and antisocial influence in relationships were related to higher psychopathic traits. Within-individual analysis indicated that time-invariant individual characteristics did not confound these associations. The findings suggest that the quality and antisocial activities of interpersonal relationships can affect positively or negatively on the levels of psychopathy.
  • Oshukova, Svetlana; Kaltiala-Heino, Riittakerttu; Miettunen, Jouko; Marttila, Riikka; Tani, Pekka; Aronen, Eeva T.; Marttunen, Mauri; Kaivosoja, Matti; Lindberg, Nina (2015)
    Background: In general psychiatric services, cost benefit screening instruments for psychopathic traits in adolescents are needed. The aim of the present study was to study the psychometric properties of the Finnish versions of the Youth Psychopathic traits Inventory (YPI) and the Antisocial Process Screening Device (APSD-SR) in community youth. As gender-specific differences exist in psychopathic traits, we analyzed the data separately in girls and boys. Methods: The YPI and the APSD-SR were administered to 372 9th graders (174 boys and 198 girls) with a mean age of 15.06 years (SD 0.28). Cronbach's alphas were used to study internal consistency. The factor structures of the self assessments were studied using both Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) and Principal Component Analysis (PCA). Results: In both self-assessments, boys scored significantly higher in the total scores, Interpersonal and Affective dimension scores as well as in most sub-dimensions. In the YPI, the alpha values for total and dimensional scores ranged from 0.55 to 0.91 in boys and from 0.74 to 0.89 in girls and, in the APSD-SR, respectively, from 0.38 to 0.78 and from 0.29 to 0.78. In CFA, the three-factor model produced poor fit for both self-assessments. For the ten sub-dimensions of the YPI, the PCA suggested two factors. Extending the model into three components showed sub-dimension loadings according to the original dimensions. For the APSD-SR, the PCA revealed a five-factor structure in the male sample and a six-factor one in the female group. When limiting the model to a three factor-model, we obtained a structure, which resembled the original dimensions. Conclusions: Both the YPI and the APSD-SR are promising tools of screening for psychopathic features in Finnish community youth. The YPI turned out to be slightly better than the APSD-SR in both reliability and factor structure. However, the original three-factor models did not find support. Both self-assessments were somewhat weak for tapping the callous-unemotional traits of the psychopathic character, but, again, the YPI worked better than the ASPD-SR. Both self assessments revealed significant gender differences in psychopathic character traits.
  • Saukkonen, Suvi; Aronen, Eeva T.; Laajasalo, Taina; Salmi, Venla; Kivivuori, Janne; Jokela, Markus (2016)
    We examined different forms of victimization experiences in relation to psychopathic features and whether these associations differed in boys and girls among 4855 Finnish school adolescents aged 15-16 years. Psychopathic features were measured with the Antisocial Process Screening Device-Self Report (APSD-SR). Victimization was assessed with questions about violent and abusive experiences across lifetime and within the last 12 months. Results from linear regression analysis showed that victimization was significantly associated with higher APSD-SR total scores, more strongly in girls than boys. Recent (12-month) victimization showed significance in the relationship between victimization and psychopathic features; especially recent sexual abuse and parental corporal punishment were strong determinants of higher APSD-SR total scores. The present study demonstrates novel findings on how severe victimization experiences relate to psychopathic features in community youth, especially in girls. The findings underscore the need for comprehensive evaluation of victimization experiences when psychopathic features are present in youth. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.