A minority of individuals with conduct disorder exhibit characteristics that qualify for the “with limited prosocial emotions” specifier. The indicators of this specifier are those that have often been labeled as callous and unemotional traits in research. Other personality features, such as thrill seeking, fearlessness, and insensitivity to punishment, may also distinguish those with characteristics described in the specifier. Individuals with characteristics described in this specifier may be more likely than other individuals with conduct disorder to engage in aggression that is planned for instrumental gain. Individuals with conduct disorder of any subtype or any level of severity can have characteristics that qualify for the specifier “with limited prosocial emotions/’ although individuals with the specifier are more likely to have childhood-onset type and a severity specifier rating of severe.
Although the validity of self-report to assess the presence of the specifier has been supported in some research contexts, individuals with conduct disorder with this specifier may not readily admit to the traits in a clinical interview. Thus, to assess the criteria for the specifier, multiple information sources are necessary. Also, because the indicators of the specifier are characteristics that reflect the individual’s typical pattern of interpersonal and emotional functioning, it is important to consider reports by others who have known the individual for extended periods of time and across relationships and settings (e.g., parents, teachers, co-workers, extended family members, peers).