Article

Effects of comorbid psychopathy on criminal offending and emotion processing in male offenders with Antisocial Personality Disorder. J Abnorm Psychol

Department of Psychology, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, North Chicago, IL 60064, USA.
Journal of Abnormal Psychology (Impact Factor: 4.86). 12/2006; 115(4):798-806. DOI: 10.1037/0021-843X.115.4.798
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) and psychopathy are two syndromes with substantial construct validity. To clarify relations between these syndromes, the authors evaluated 3 possibilities: (a) that ASPD with psychopathy and ASPD without psychopathy reflect a common underlying pathophysiology; (b) that ASPD with psychopathy and ASPD without psychopathy identify 2 distinct syndromes, similar in some respects; and (c) that most correlates of ASPD reflect its comorbidity with psychopathy. Participants were 472 incarcerated European American men who met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (4th ed., American Psychiatric Association, 1994) criteria for ASPD and Psychopathy Checklist criteria for psychopathy, who met the criteria for ASPD but not for psychopathy, or who did not meet diagnostic criteria for either ASPD or psychopathy (controls). Both individuals with ASPD only and those with ASPD and psychopathy were characterized by more criminal activity than were controls. In addition, ASPD with psychopathy was associated with more severe criminal behavior and weaker emotion facilitation than ASPD alone. Group differences in the association between emotion dysfunction and criminal behavior suggest tentatively that ASPD with and ASPD without prominent psychopathic features may be distinct syndromes.

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    • "In support of a theoretical distinction between psychopathy and ASPD, findings indicate that offenders with ASPD plus psychopathy show a more severe pattern of offending relative to those with ASPD in the absence of psychopathy, and those with neither diagnosis [9]. Additional evidence points to differences in the processing of emotional stimuli between psychopaths and non-psychopaths with ASPD [9,10]. "
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    • "More broadly, Miller and Lynam's (this issue ) nomological network renders psychopathy largely isomorphic with the DSM–IV (American Psychiatric Association, 2000) diagnosis of ASPD, a condition marked by a longstanding history of unsuccessful behaviors, especially antisocial and criminal actions. Yet most major scholars in the field (e.g., Hare, 2003; Kosson, Lorenz, & Newman, 2006; Lykken, 1995) concur that psychopathy and ASPD are far from synonymous (see also Lilienfeld, 1994). Specifically , measures of the core interpersonal (e.g., superficial charm) and affective (e.g., callousness ) traits of psychopathy are only moderately associated with indices of ASPD, are separable from ASPD indices factor-analytically (Harpur et al., 1989), and differ markedly from ASPD indices in many key external correlates. "
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    • "To be motivated to be concerned about another's welfare, one needs to be affectively and empathically aroused, and to anticipate the cessation of mutually experienced personal distress (Barnett and Thompson, 2001). This signal may be lacking in psychopathic individuals who exhibit weaker psychophysiological reactions such as skin conductance reactivity to emotional stimuli and poor passive-avoidance learning (Kosson et al., 2006). The atypical processing of negative emotional stimuli coupled with poor inhibitory control, may account for morally inappropriate behavior in psychopaths. "
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