Moral Reasoning, Callous-Unemotional Traits, and Cognitive Distortions:story of a backfire effect?

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The present study investigated the relationships between moral reasoning, callousunemotional (CU) traits, cognitive distortions, and gender in residential youth and healthy controls. Previous work has examined these components; however, no research so far included all of them in a single study. The present research investigated the relationships between these components and proposed a possible underlying mechanism for cognitive distortions. In the suggested model, the conflicting interaction between moral reasoning and CU traits was hypothesized to generate the cognitive distortions. The findings, in line with past research, support the presence of the main effects of moral reasoning and CU traits in predicting cognitive distortions. The interaction effect between moral reasoning and CU traits as a general mechanism in predicting cognitive distortions was not supported. However, the results suggest the presence of a difference across the sub-groups; specifically, the conflicting interaction was predicting cognitive distortions only for the sub-group of residential females. Possible interpretations of the findings are given, as well as limitations and recommendations for future research. Keywords: moral reasoning, callous-unemotional traits, cognitive distortions, residential youth.
Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen