Part of the book: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children and Adolescents
Serious conduct problems are a serious mental health and public policy concern. Such conduct problems are highly related to criminal behavior and are associated with a host of other social, emotional, and academic problems. In addition, serious conduct problems in childhood predict later impairments in the domains of mental health, legal, educational, social, occupational, and physical health. In the past two decades, a significant body of research has emerged refining how the key features associated with psychopathy may be expressed in children and adolescents. These researches have focused largely on the presence of callous-unemotional traits, which correspond closely to the affective dimension of psychopathy—core to the construct in adult samples. Several reviews have focused on important theoretical questions related to how best to identify psychopathy in children and adolescents but do not directly address their importance for understanding, classifying, and treating youths with severe conduct problems. So, in the forefront of these studies, I aimed to review the development of psychopathy from childhood. In this chapter, topics related to psychopathy, such as diagnosis and nosology, epidemiologic studies, etiologic factors, assessment, diagnostic interviews, comorbid disorders and longitudinal outcome, treatment modalities, and treatment outcome in samples of children and adolescents, were included.
Part of the book: Psychopathy
This chapter outlines the issues associated with the development of prefrontal cortex in children and adolescents, and describes the developmental profile of executive processes across childhood. The prefrontal cortex plays an essential role in various cognitive functions and little is known about how such neural mechanisms develop during childhood yet. To better understand this issue, we focus the literature on the development of the prefrontal cortex during early childhood, the changes in structural architecture, neural activity, and cognitive abilities. The prefrontal cortex undergoes maturation during childhood with a reduction of synaptic and neuronal density, a growth of dendrites, and an increase in white matter volume. With these neuroanatomical changes, neural networks construct appropriate for complex cognitive processing. The organization of prefrontal cortical circuitry may have been critical to the occurrence of human-specific executive and social-emotional functions, and developmental pathology in these same systems underlies many psychiatric disorders; therefore, if we understand these developmental process well, we could better analyze the development of psychiatric disorders.
Part of the book: Prefrontal Cortex