Although several evidences suggested the importance to consider the quality of relationships with others as a key element for the understanding of callous-unemotional traits in youths, to date few studies investigated the specific role of youths' attachment. The aim of the present study was to explore the association between attachment styles and callous-unemotional traits within a community sample of 786 high school students (41.48% females, M age = 16.90 years, SD = 1.45 years). A linear hierarchical regression approach showed that, over and above gender, age, and levels of both internalizing and externalizing problems, unique variance in callous-unemotional traits was accounted for by low confidence, high discomfort with closeness, and low preoccupation with relationships. Moreover, focusing on specific subcomponents of callous-unemotional traits, it was found that high levels of perceiving relationships as secondary were related to the callous-lack of empathy component, while higher levels in discomfort with closeness were associated to the restricted affect component. Emerged results were discussed within the context of the Sensitivity to Threat and Affiliative Reward (STAR) Model, that was recently advanced to in-depth understand callous-unemotional traits in children and adolescents.
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