BACKGROUND: In adults with antisocial personality disorder, literature data indicate alterations in emotional decision making and in the working of the prefrontal cortex. Similar alterations were described in adolescents with psychopathic traits, however, a dimensional link was not established between behavioral variables and variables associated with decision making. The aim of the present study was to describe the relationship between externalizing symptoms and emotional decision making in non-clinical adolescents. METHODS: Originally 57, 7th-10th grade students between 13-16 years participated in the study after informed consent, but the data of 4 adolescents were not used because of incomplete data-set (N=53; 24 girls and 29 boys; age=14.7 +/- 1.0 years, mean +/- SD). The parent version of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) was used to assess behavioral problems. The Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) performance and Raven IQ measures were also assessed. RESULTS: The number of summarized risky choices was positively correlated with Conduct Problems Scale of SDQ (r=0.31, p<0.05). While the number of risky choices was not correlated with conduct problems in the first 20 selections (r=0.11, p=n.s.), a marked positive correlation was present in the above measures in the last 20 selections (r=0.28, p<0.05). The number of risky choices did not depend on Raven IQ, age, and other behavioral scales of SDQ. CONCLUSIONS: Even subthreshold conduct symptoms are associated with altered emotional decision making in adolescents, what might be important in the development of antisocial behavior.