Callous unemotional traits in two Italian Secondary Schools: environmental and scholastic variables related to an emotional poverty


Affective poverty, strongly related to emotional illiteracy, has lifelong implications for the individual and can manifest through different behavioural problems. In this work, we took into consideration callous-unemotional (CU) traits, which are judged as one of the most serious forms of emotional dysfunction. In childhood and adolescence, CU traits have been related to instrumental aggression, learning difficulties and serious conduct problems, all factors linked to early school dropout. With the present research, we first wanted to verify the presence of these traits among the students of two high schools, one in Veneto and one in Lazio (227 boys and 460 girls, average age: 16 years) through the Inventory Callous-Unemotional. We then observed which variables, including environmental ones, were linked to a significant presence of CU traits. The results showed that geographic location and socio-economic status are irrelevant factors. The wider results obtained confirm the need for educational programs aimed at developing emotional intelligence.