Pro-social and aggressive behaviors among school children: The role of callous-unemotional traits

2016 IJRSP – Volume 5 Issue 4


Nwafor, Chidozie E.*
Department of Psychology, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria (

Anazonwu, Charles Okechukwu
Department of Psychology, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria (

Okafor, Okechukwu Chiedozie
Department of Political Science/Psychology/Sociology, Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Ikwo, Nigeria (

Obi-Nwosu, Harry
Department of Psychology, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria (


Different kinds of behavior and traits may gradually manifest during the childhood; among such behaviors are pro-social and aggressive behaviors. The present study examined two developmental traits (callous-unemotional) and their role in the relationship between pro-social and aggressive behavior. Participants are school pupils in Nkpor; a South Eastern town in the Anambra State of Nigeria. All the participants were of the Igbo ethnic group. They include 65 primary school pupils comprising of 30 primary six pupils (M age = 10.50, SD = 1.07) and 35 primary two pupils (Mage = 6.02, SD =.66). Data for pro-social, aggressive behavior and callous-unemotional traits (CU) were gathered from the teacher’s report. Results revealed that CU traits were negatively correlated with pro-social but positively correlated with aggression. Pro-social behavior was also negatively correlated with aggressive behavior. Hierarchical regression showed that pro-social behavior was not a significant predictor of aggressive behavior when CU traits were not controlled, while CU traits predict aggressive behavior with or without pro-sociality. The discussion focused on callous and uncaring traits as an important mediating mechanism that could help researchers understand early developmental trajectories of pro-social behaviors.

Keywords: pro-social; aggressive; callous-unemotional traits; childhood; behavior



*Corresponding Author