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Psychopathy and motive for violent offences: Offenders admitted to forensic pshyciatric care
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work, Örebro University, Sweden.
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work, Örebro University, Sweden. Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia. (Center for Criminological and Psychosocial Research)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8285-0935
Mid Sweden University, Östersund, Sweden.
2016 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

There are two primary motives for violence; instrumental violence is goal-directed and committed with a motive to obtain money, social status or territory, whereas reactive violence is impulsive, a reaction to frustration, insults or dangerous situations. In a meta-analysis by Blais et al. (2014) psychopathy was moderately related to instrumental as well as reactive violence. Most studies have been performed within male prison populations; only a few have been done with forensic psychiatric patients. Our aim was to study motive of violent offences by forensic psychiatric patients and how the motive was related to gender and psychopathy. Data were collected from verdicts and medical records for 100 (15 female, 85 male) offenders admitted to forensic psychiatric care. Psychopathy was assessed with the PCL:SV. The offenders’ violent index offence was rated as instrumental or reactive according to the coding guide by Cornell (1996). The results showed that 7% of the female and 25% of the male offenders had committed an instrumental offence, whereas 33% of the females and 49% of the males committed a reactive offence. Female offenders had more frequently committed offences characterised as being both instrumental and reactive compared to male offenders (60% vs 27%). PCL:SV total scores were not significantly related to motives. When broken down into four facets, as per the four-factor model, results showed that offenders who committed an instrumental offence scored higher on facet 4, the anti social facet. Factors related to violent offences such as level of provocation, relationship with the victim, intoxication, and presence of psychotic symptoms, were not associated with offence motive, however level of arousal was associated with offence motive. Therefore, we suggest that further studies on emotional regulation in relation to motive and psychopathy should be conducted.

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URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-54335OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-54335DiVA: diva2:1062930
Stockholm Criminology Symposium, Stockholm, Sweden, June 14-16, 2016
Available from: 2017-01-09 Created: 2017-01-09 Last updated: 2017-01-10Bibliographically approved

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Selenius, HeidiStrand, Susanne
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School of Law, Psychology and Social Work, Örebro University, Sweden

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