La santé mentale chez les enfants et les adolescents : liens avec les troubles de comportement et d'insensibilité émotionnelle


Nathalie Fontaine

Université de Montréal


Domaine : santé de la mère, des enfants et des adolescents

Programme chercheurs-boursiers - Junior 1

Concours 2015-2016

Children and adolescents who have conduct problems are often referred to psychological services to help in improving their behaviours and their overall mental health. Youths who have conduct problems are not all alike. Some, in addition to their conduct problems, also lack empathy and do not feel guilty when they misbehave. These youths, who have callous-unemotional behaviours, are particularly prone to manifest violent behaviours during their life. This research program will help to understand why and how some youths develop conduct problems, with or without callous-unemotional behaviours. We hope that, in the long term, the knowledge acquired through this work will help to prevent mental health problems affecting these youths. This research includes two specific objectives :

(1) To identify the characteristics (for example, the child's temperament and the family context) that are associated with different groups of youths who have conduct problems (such as children with or without callous-unemotional behaviours), particularly in preschool children as well as in adolescent females who are exposed to the justice system. Very little research focused on these youths in particular.

(2) To examine the processes leading to childhood conduct problems, with or without callous-unemotional behaviours, as well as the mental health problems that may arise in adolescence and in early adulthood from these childhood behavioural problems.

Three samples of children and adolescents, including one sample of youths followed during many years since the age of 5 months, will be used to test various hypotheses. This research is innovative because few studies focused on the characteristics, especially at an early age, associated with the development of conduct problems with or without callous-unemotional behaviours in children, as well as their mental health in adolescence and in early adulthood.