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Linking adult psychopathy with childhood hyperactivity-impulsivity-attention problems and conduct problems through retrospective self-reports
Örebro University, Department of Behavioural, Social and Legal Sciences.
2005 (English)In: Journal of Personality Disorders, ISSN 0885-579x, Vol. 19, no 1, p. 94-101Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The purpose of the present study was to test whether adult criminals with psychopathy diagnoses, more than those without, have histories of hyperactivity–impulsivity–attention problems (HIA) and conduct problems (CP). We compared psychopathic and nonpsychopathic violent criminal offenders on retrospective reports of conduct problems before the age of 15 and hyperactivity–impulsivity–attention problems before the age of 10. We used a sample of 186 adult men sentenced to prison in Sweden for 4 years or more for violent, nonsexual crimes. The mean age was 30.7(SD = 9.4). The results showed that a combination of childhood HIA problems and CP was typical for adult psychopathic offenders. They were four times more likely than chance to have had a combination of HIA problems and CP during childhood and only one–fifth as likely than chance to have had neither problem. Nonpsychopathic offenders, on the other hand, were five times more likely than chance to have had neither problem and only one-quarter as likely than chance to have had both problems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. Vol. 19, no 1, p. 94-101
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-3122DOI: 10.1521/pedi.19.1.94.62183OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-3122DiVA, id: diva2:137050
Available from: 2006-09-29 Created: 2006-09-29 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Understanding psychopathy trough the study of long-term violent offenders
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Understanding psychopathy trough the study of long-term violent offenders
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Psychopathy describes a collection of personality traits that logically would facilitate violent, criminal behavior. This dissertation deals with issues that might shed light on how to treat or prevent this socially devastating personality disorder: the conceptualization of the disorder; how psychopathic offenders compare with nonpsychopathic offenders; and whether there are some psychopathic offenders who might be more amenable to treatment than others. The four studies use data from a sample of about 400 violent offenders who were assessed in a national prison unit. The first study dealt with the definition of psychopathy. Using exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses of PCL-R scores, we compared the traditional 17- item, two-factor model with a more recently proposed 13-item, three-factor model. Exploratory factor analysis showed that the 13 items yielded three easily interpretable factors: an interpersonal factor, an affective factor, and a behavioral/lifestyle factor. Confirmatory factor analysis showed that this model had a significantly closer fit to the data than the traditional 17-item, two-factor model. The second and third studies compared psychopathic with nonpsychopathic offenders. In the second study we tested whether psychopathic more than nonpsychopathic offenders had histories of hyperactivityimpulsivity- attention problems (HIA) and conduct problems (CP). We used their retrospective reports of conduct problems before the age of 15 and HIA before the age of 10. The results showed that a combination of childhood HIA and CP was typical for psychopathic but not nonpsychopathic offenders. The third study tested the hypothesis that intelligence is positively correlated with severity of criminal development in psychopathic criminals and negatively correlated in nonpsychopathic criminals. That pattern would provide a way of explaining the discrepancy between Cleckley’s view and later empirical work and open the door to new ideas about prevention and treatment. For non-psychopaths, higher total intelligence scores, particularly verbal intelligence, meant a later start in violent crime. For those diagnosed as psychopaths, however, this association was reversed. The fourth study investigated whether meaningful subtypes of psychopathy could be identified. Model-based cluster analysis of Revised Psychopathy Checklist (PCLR Hare, 2003) and trait anxiety scores in the psychopathic subgroup (n = 124; PCL-R > 29) revealed two clusters, which we labeled primary and secondary. Secondary psychopaths had greater trait anxiety and fewer psychopathic traits than primary psychopaths, but comparable levels of antisocial behavior. They also had more borderline personality features, poorer interpersonal functioning, and more symptoms of major mental disorder than primary psychopaths. Psychopathy is a complex and in some ways mysterious disorder, and little is known about how it develops. Taken together, these studies provide some clues that might ultimately lead to ways of preventing the development of psychopathy. Early HIA problems apparently put children in a risk group. Apparently, high intelligence plays a role in the most problematic cases, and the disorder can develop in the presence of anxiety. Although the idea is not without problems, adult psychopaths who are high on anxiety might be more amenable to treatment than those who are not.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro universitetsbibliotek, 2006. p. 66
Series
Örebro Studies in Psychology, ISSN 1651-1328 ; 9
Keywords
Psychopathy, HIA-CP, Intelligence, Subtypes
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-638 (URN)91-7668-502-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2006-10-20, Musikhögskolans aula, Örebro universitet, Örebro, 10:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2006-09-29 Created: 2006-09-29 Last updated: 2017-10-18Bibliographically approved

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Johansson, PeterKerr, MargaretAndershed, Henrik

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