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A developmental perspective on psychopathic traits in adolescence
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work, Örebro University, Sweden. (Center for Developmental Research)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7188-3523
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

More than half of known crime is committed by 5-6% of the criminal population. Who are these people? Research has shown that it is likely that a majority of these individuals are characterized by having a psychopathic personality. Interestingly, research has shown that psychopathic features are not unique to adults. Youths with high levels of psychopathic traits resemble adult psychopaths in that they are the most frequent, severe and aggressive, delinquent offenders. There is less knowledge, however, about the development of these traits in adolescence, and many fundamental questions have yet to be addressed. The aim of this dissertation is to begin to examine a few of these questions, such as: a) the role of parents andtheir behavior in the development of psychopathic personality in adolescence; b) patterns of stability and change in psychopathic traits during adolescence; and c) whether or not subgroups of adolescents with high levels of psychopathic traits can be identified in a normative community sample. Overall, the results reveal that a psychopathic personality profile characterizes a small group of youths at particular risk of negative development. This group, as well as showing high levels of psychopathic traits throughout adolescence, report high levels of delinquent behavior, and also experience dysfunctional relationships with their parents. Further, the results reveal important subgroups of adolescents with high levels of psychopathic traits, much in accordance with the literature on adult psychopaths. Whereas one group expresses the personality style of primary psychopaths, another is more aggressive, impulsive, and anxious than the other. Taken together, the results of this dissertation suggest that some adolescents are at particular risk of future negative development. Implications for theory and practice, and for the directions of future research, are discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro universitet , 2013. , 68 p.
Series
Örebro Studies in Psychology, ISSN 1651-1328 ; 28
Keyword [en]
psychopathic traits, adolescents, development, stability, change, parental behavior, subgroups, parenting
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-34881ISBN: 978-91-7668-982-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-34881DiVA: diva2:714300
Public defence
2013-12-13, Hörsal 2, Örebro universitet, Fakultetsgatan 2, Örebro, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-05-26 Created: 2014-04-26 Last updated: 2016-12-12Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Directions of effects between adolescent psychopathic traits and parental behavior
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Directions of effects between adolescent psychopathic traits and parental behavior
2012 (English)In: Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, ISSN 0091-0627, E-ISSN 1573-2835, Vol. 40, no 6, 957-969 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Keyword
psychopathic traits, adolescence, parental behavior, direction of effects, delinquency
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-32210 (URN)10.1007/s10802-012-9623-x (DOI)000305736300010 ()22427247 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-84864375593 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2013-10-31 Created: 2013-10-31 Last updated: 2017-03-24Bibliographically approved
2. Trajectories of adolescent psychopathic traits
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Trajectories of adolescent psychopathic traits
2014 (English)In: Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, ISSN 0882-2689, E-ISSN 1573-3505, Vol. 36, no 1, 47-59 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There is growing evidence that psychopathic traits are stable across the adolescent developmental period. Yet, no previous studies have examined the longitudinal course of these traits across adolescence. In this study, we examined joint developmental trajectories of grandiose-manipulative traits, callous-unemotional traits, and impulsive-irresponsible behavior and how these trajectories were related to changes in parental behavior and delinquency over time. Participants were 1,068 adolescents from a community sample, who were followed annually over 4 years. Overall, our results showed that a four-class latent class growth model best represented the developmental pattern of adolescent psychopathic traits. Although the majority of adolescents showed low or moderate initial levels that also decreased over time, there was a small group of adolescents who, despite significant decreases in two out of three dimensions, still maintained relatively high levels on all three dimensions. We also found that parental behavior and delinquency developed differently for the groups over time, with the high-decreasing group engaging in more delinquent behavior over time and experiencing more negative parental behavior than any other group. In sum, our findings suggest that there is a group of adolescents at particular risk for negative development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2014
Keyword
trajectories, psychopathic traits, stability, change, adolescence
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-32211 (URN)10.1007/s10862-013-9375-0 (DOI)000331971900005 ()2-s2.0-84900350311 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2013-10-31 Created: 2013-10-31 Last updated: 2017-02-02Bibliographically approved
3. Under the surface of adolescent psychopathic traits: high-anxious and low-anxious subgroups in a communiy sample of youths
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Under the surface of adolescent psychopathic traits: high-anxious and low-anxious subgroups in a communiy sample of youths
2014 (English)In: Journal of Adolescence, ISSN 0140-1971, E-ISSN 1095-9254, Vol. 37, no 5, 681-689 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this study, we examined subgroups of adolescents based on their levels of psychopathic traits and anxiety. Participants were 914 youths from a community sample, with a mean age of 14.28 (SD = .94) years. We used adolescents' self-reports of psychopathic traits and their parents' reports of the adolescent's anxiety to identify distinct subgroups of youths. Using latent class analysis, we identified five groups that varied in levels of psychopathic traits and anxiety. Two groups were characterized by high levels of psychopathic traits and high or low scores on anxiety. Validation of these subgroups revealed that they differed significantly from each other in theoretically meaningful ways the low-anxious subgroup reported higher levels of psychopathic traits, lower levels of impulsivity and hyperactivity, and lower levels of aggression than the high-anxious group. These findings are in line with previous empirical research and provide support that anxiety discriminates between two subgroups of adolescents with psychopathic traits.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Academic Press, 2014
Keyword
Anxiety; Psychopathic traits; Primary; Secondary; Subgroups; Adolescents
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-34880 (URN)10.1016/j.adolescence.2014.03.002 (DOI)000339130700019 ()24680581 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-84902359079 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2014-04-26 Created: 2014-04-26 Last updated: 2017-02-01Bibliographically approved

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