The Inventory of Callous-Unemotional Traits (ICU) in Children: Reliability and Heritability. Academic Article uri icon


  • Callous-unemotional (CU) traits comprise the core symptoms of psychopathy, yet no study has estimated the heritability of CU traits in a community sample of children using an instrument designed solely to assess CU traits. The current study uses data from 339 twin pairs aged 9-14 to examine the reliability and heritability of the parent-report Inventory of Callous-unemotional Traits (ICU) at two assessments approximately 3weeks apart. Time-specific measurement error was taken into account to obtain a more accurate estimate of the heritability reflecting the latent liability to CU traits. Test-retest reliability was 0.84 and heritability at visit 1 was 39%. The heritability of the latent liability to CU traits was 47%. This latent liability contributed 79% of the variance in ICU score at visit 1 and visit 2. This is the first study to account for measurement error while examining the heritability of CU traits, furthering our understanding of psychopathy in children.

published proceedings

  • Behav Genet

altmetric score

  • 3.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Moore, A. A., Carney, D., Moroney, E., Machlin, L., Towbin, K. E., Brotman, M. A., ... Hettema, J. M.

citation count

  • 18

complete list of authors

  • Moore, Ashlee A||Carney, Dever||Moroney, Elizabeth||Machlin, Laura||Towbin, Kenneth E||Brotman, Melissa A||Pine, Daniel S||Leibenluft, Ellen||Roberson-Nay, Roxann||Hettema, John M

publication date

  • March 2017