Frick Article Analysis

Understanding human behavior is even more complicated than searching for a tiny pin in a haystack - Frick Article Analysis introduction. For starters, every human being is unique in features and genetic construction making it impossible to have one definite definition of a certain antisocial tendency. In an article by Paul J. Frick entitled, “Extending the Construct of Psychopathy to Youth: Implications for Understanding, Diagnosing, and Treating Antisocial Children and Adolescents,” he discussed the researches and studies he conducted relating callous-unemotional (CU) traits to children and adolescents with antisocial behavior or conduct problems, which can lead to psychopathy in their adult lives.

Psychopathy is defined as stable and an untreatable dispositional tendency (Frick, 2009), so an early diagnosis and intervention is the only way to prevent its severity.  To be able to understand the construct of it, Frick discussed previous attempts sub typing the disorder first with childhood-onset CD; second with the presence of ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder); and third, patterns of aggression (reactive and proactive aggression and its severity). There, he was able to relate the connection of children and youth with and those without characteristics of CU to antisocial behavior. For example, he noted that youth with conduct disorder (CD) shows a mild level of reactive aggression; the presence of ADHD increases the impulsive antisocial tendencies in most adults with criminal histories; children with onset conduct disorder before adolescence shows similar tendencies to adults with psychopathy (Frick, 2009). During the course of Frick’s studies, he was able to conduct experiments involving CU traits and antisocial behavior both in children and adults by using a questionnaire to show the dimensions of their CU traits. He then related the results of his studies to clinical importance and causal theories and concluded that the proper diagnosis of the presence of CU traits will result into future advances in prevention and treatment.

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Frick’s experiments were well-discussed in the article. The results are clear and can really be helpful in determining CUtraits in children and adults. However his experiments involve only a few patients in a particular community. He was not able to generalize if his conclusions are applicable to all races. The difference in parenting style of people from other race and their inherited genes was not addressed properly.

With regards to Frick’s argument that CU traits are an important factor in assessing a child or an adult’s pathway to an antisocial behavior or psychopathy, he was able to prove it, and even discuss its implications in his article. Frick did this by assessing the core features of psychopathy using the 3 different personality dimensions, which are: impulsive traits, narcissistic traits and CU traits. Although there were noted limitations (some people have a combination of the traits), Frick was able to predict the severity of a behavior and its outcome clearly (i.e. CU traits equals to a more severe antisocial behavior; children with CU traits are more reactive and aggressive; CU traits are not associated with levels of impulsivity). These results made Frick’s conclusions to be true and agreeable. Indeed CU traits are the clue to assessing a future life of an antisocial or a psychopath for that matter.

The article is helpful and because it is based on examples and studies, is therefore reliable. But there is stillroom for improvement especially if the author chose patients with variety (different race and who comes from different family backgrounds). This, I think would generalize the conclusions and assumptions to a higher degree, making it more reliable and making its applicability and approach more holistic.

Frick, P. J. (2009). Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. Extending The Construct of Psychopathy to Youth: Implications for Understanding.Diagnosing and Treating Antisocial Children and Adolescents , 803-812.

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