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Psychopathic killers: A meta-analytic review of the psychopathy-homicide nexus

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Despite cultural notions that psychopathy and homicide arestrongly linked, there has not been a quantitative meta-analytic review of the association between psychopathy and homicide offending. The current study meta-analyzed data from 29 unique samples from 22 studies that included 2,603 homicide offenders, and found that the mean psychopathy score on the PCL-R for a homicide offender was 21.2 (95% CI= 18.9 –23.6). This score is indicative of moderate psychopathy. The overall effect size r= .68 was large, and effect sizes intensified in studies of more severe manifestations of homicide including sexual homicide (r= .71), sadistic homicide (r= .78), serial homicide (r= .74), and multi-offender homicide (r = .80). Current study findings make clear that psychopathy and homicide are importantly linked and that psychopathic personality functioning is a significant risk factor for various forms of lethal violence (PDF) Psychopathic killers: A meta-analytic review of the psychopathy-homicide nexus. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/329273113_Psychopathic_killers_A_meta-analytic_review_of_the_psychopathy-homicide_nexus [accessed Dec 18 2018].

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... Comprehensive taxonomies of the dark traits, including the Dark tetrad, have rarely been examined in a criminological, penal, or forensic context; hence, the research on the links between the dark traits and the type of criminal offence is still very scarce. However, there is a common belief that psychopathy is related to homicide offences, both in popular culture and media (Lilienfeld & Arkowitz, 2007) and in scientific context (Fox & DeLisi, 2019). Indeed, there is a large amount of data showing that murders committed by psychopathic individuals have some specific characteristics. ...
... The existing evidence suggests that the answer is once again positive. A recent meta-analysis showed large effect sizes of the link between psychopathy and homicide (Fox & DeLisi, 2019). However, the data is not unambiguous. ...
... Therefore, we expected all the dark traits to be positively related to criminal recidivism. Regarding the relation between the dark traits and homicide, two contrasting hypotheses can be made: leaning on meta-analytic results (Fox & DeLisi, 2019) we could expect that psychopathy is more highly pronounced in homicide offenders than the other two groups. On the contrary, the results of Sherretts et al. (2017) suggest that the dark traits may be less expressed in the homicide offenders compared to other groups of offenders. ...
Article
Dark personality traits describe amoral and antisocial behavioral dispositions and are often described by psychopathy (i.e., interpersonal, affective, lifestyle, and antisocial characteristics), narcissism, Machiavellianism, and sadism. These traits are related to various socially detrimental behavioral outcomes, including criminal behavior and delinquency. Furthermore, psychopathy is frequently related to homicide, both in scientific and in popular literature; however, the empirical data on the link between psychopathy and other dark traits with homicide is still scarce. We examined self-reported psychopathy, Machiavellianism, sadism, and the indicators of criminal recidivism (number of offences, number of lawful sentences and penal recidivism) in a sample of male homicide offenders (N = 46), other violent offenders (N = 82), and non-violent offenders (N = 119). The results showed that homicide offenders have less pronounced psychopathy, sadism, and criminal recidivism compared to the other two groups – the differences were particularly evident in comparison to the group of non-homicide violent offenders. There were no statistically significant differences in Machiavellianism. Our data cast a doubt on the widely acknowledged link between psychopathy and murder. The findings can be explained largely by the fact that homicide is a heterogeneous criminal offence; while it is possible that psychopathy and other dark traits may be linked to some types of homicide, this link cannot be established for homicide in general.
... These aspects are its structure, etiology, psychological mechanisms and psychobiological correlations to its relationship with a wide variety of factors (e.g., sex, age, socioeconomic status, education, family environment, ethnicity, culture). Also, its ability to predict diverse socially or clinically relevant behaviors (e.g., violence, criminal recidivism, gender-based violence, sexual offending, institutional misconduct, alcohol and substance abuse, response to treatment) (see reviews of Leistico et al., 2008;Hare, 2013;Fox and DeLisi, 2019). ...
... Research has consistently found that the prevalence of psychopathy is higher in male offenders and prisoners than in female offenders and prisoners (see the review of Beryl et al., 2014). It has also been found that psychopathy prevalence and psychopathy levels are higher in North American male and female prisoners than in European male and female prisoners (see the reviews of Beryl et al., 2014;Fox and DeLisi, 2019). ...
... As could be expected, this prevalence is much lower than that found in samples obtained in forensic or prison contexts. For example, in the meta-analysis of Fox and DeLisi (2019), it was found that the average prevalence of psychopathy among homicide offenders could be estimated at 27.8 or 34.4%, depending on the criterion used to define psychopathy with the PCL-R (cut-off score of 30 vs. 25, respectively). In the second edition of the PCL-R manual (Hare, 2003a), the prevalence of psychopathy, based on a cut-off score of 30, was 15.7% for males (Nicholls et al., 2005) and 10.3% for females (Guay et al., 2018) in the North American normative samples of prisoners. ...
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The main objective of this study was to systematically and meta-analytically review the scientific literature on the prevalence of psychopathy in the general adult population. A search in PsycInfo, MEDLINE, and PSICODOC identified 15 studies published as of June 2021. Altogether, 16 samples of adults totaling 11,497 people were evaluated. Joint prevalence rates were calculated using reverse variance heterogeneity models. Meta-regression analyses were conducted to examine whether the type of instrument, sex, type of sample, and country influenced prevalence. The meta-analytical results obtained allow us to estimate the prevalence rate of psychopathy in the general adult population at 4.5%. That being said, this rate varies depending on the participants' sex (higher in males), the type of sample from the general population (higher in samples from organizations than in community samples or university students), and the type of instrument used to define psychopathy. In fact, using the PCL-R, which is currently considered the “gold standard” for the assessment and definition of psychopathy, the prevalence is only 1.2%. These results are discussed in the context of the different theoretical perspectives and the existing problems when it comes to defining the construct of psychopathy.
... For example, aggravating features in homicide offending often support the imposition of a death sentence, such as the murder of multiple victims, perpetration of murder with other serious felonies, such as kidnapping, rape, and armed robbery, murder for pecuniary gain, murder with bias motivation, and murder involving heinous, atrocious, or cruel features such as torture [35]. These aggravating features are congruent with research on psychopathy and homicide which shows that psychopathy is more prevalent among more pathological homicide offenders, such as those who commit sexual murder, sadistic murder, and serial murder [17]. Although several studies documented that psychopathic murderers engage in more violent, gratuitous, and sadistic violence than their less psychopathic peers [18,36,37], these studies include offenders sentenced in jurisdictions that do not have capital punishment, thus the relevance of psychopathy among condemned murderers is unclear. ...
... The mean PCL-R total score was 23.31, which is about two points higher than the average psychopathy scores among homicide offenders as reported in a recent meta-analysis [17]. The proportion of homicide offenders in the current sample that was clinically psychopathic exceeds prevalence estimates of clinical psychopathy among other samples of persons convicted of murder from the United States, Canada, Sweden, and Finland in 10 studies but reflects lower prevalence compared with two studies [16]. ...
Article
Psychopathy is an important forensic mental health construct. Despite this importance, the research base of psychopathy among individuals convicted of capital murder is limited. Archival data were collected from a sample of 636 persons convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in the State of California. Psychopathy was assessed using the Psychopathy Checklist – Revised (PCL‐R) instrument. Data on criminal careers and other behavioral disorders were also extracted. The sample mean PCL‐R total score was 23.31 (SD = 9.92) and one‐third of individuals in this sample were considered clinically psychopathic with PCL‐R total scores of 30 or greater. Factor analytic examination yielded support for four facets: affective, interpersonal, lifestyle, and antisocial. Criterion validity findings revealed positive correlations of psychopathy scores with Antisocial Personality Disorder (ρ = 0.72), Conduct Disorder (ρ = 0.46), sexual sadism (ρ = 0.24), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ρ = 0.20), ADHD (ρ = 0.15), arrest charges (r = 0.56), prison sentences (r = 0.53), and age of arrest onset (r = −0.57). Individuals convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death reflect heterogeneity in psychopathy with some individuals exhibiting pronounced psychopathic features.
... Highly psychopathic individuals are notorious for violating these social norms and their refusal to cooperate with others (De Brito et al., 2021;Glenn et al., 2010). Their unempathic and blunted array of emotions combined with a lack of behavioral control is reflected in social decisions that are often cruel and alarming in nature (Fox & DeLisi, 2019;Hare, 2003). Traditionally, an inherent emotional deficit in the sense of reduced anxiety in highly psychopathic individuals has been discussed as the basis for such decision making (Birbaumer et al., 2005;Blair et al., 2005;Lykken, 1957;Patrick et al., 1993), whereas increasing evidence suggests that cognitive factors such as inflexible attention processes are hindering these individuals to consider emotional cues in decision making Hoppenbrouwers et al., 2017;Patterson & Newman, 1993). ...
... This small effect seems not to be sufficiently representative of the highly psychopathic individuals' well-documented tendency to engage in antisocial and amoral behavior with immense consequences on their victims (e.g. Fox & DeLisi, 2019;Tengström et al., 2004). Rather, this unexpectedly small difference in moral decisions between individuals high or low in psychopathy might be related to the idea that individuals high on psychopathic traits seem to largely understand the difference between right and wrong, yet still tend to act amorally despite this knowledge (Cima et al., 2010;Schaich Borg et al., 2013;Shane & Groat, 2018). ...
Article
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Despite their decisions to frequently manipulate or even callously harm others in real life, highly psychopathic individuals often exhibit judgments comparable to individuals low in psychopathy when examined experimentally. This conundrum has generated a rich body of studies exploring social decision-making in psychopathy, but no systematic review to date has identified decision-making as measured in real-world or simulated social interactions in criminal offender samples assessed for psychopathic traits. Out of 807 studies provided by database searching in August 2022, 16 studies were included in this review and revealed behavioral economic games and paradigms for the assessment of aggressive behavior as the two main approaches to dissect social decision-making in offender samples regarding psychopathy. The specific paradigms exposed the multidimensional structure of both, the psychopathy construct and social decision-making. On one side, the distinct affordances of the social tasks, such as trust, power, or reactions to unfairness and provocation shed light on the inconsistent relations of decisions in experimental situations and psychopathy. On the other side, studies analyzing decision outcomes with respect to the distinct psychopathy subcomponents revealed nuanced interference effects with the social decision tasks. The review encourages a differentiated perspective to the psychopathy construct and social decision-making processes alike.
... Psychopathy is characterized by high dysfunctional impulsivity, behavioral disinhibition, and aggression [10,[24][25][26]. With respect to criminal behavior, narcissism and Machiavellianism have been studied most often for instances of white-collar and financial crime [27,28], whereas psychopathy is highly predictive of generalized criminal behavior [29][30][31], and especially of violent crime [8,[32][33][34]. All three are related to distinct types of aggression and antisocial behavior in adolescents [35], and to bullying behaviors in adults [5]. ...
... Dark Triad traits and low self-control are relevant constructs to the study of antisociality and criminality that present distinct individual difference markers [7,10]. During the last decade, several relevant studies have demonstrated the significant influence of both psychopathy and self-control as consistent and robust predictors of psychopathology and antisocial conduct [16,18,19,30,32,58,59]; however, studies that concurrently examine Dark Triad traits and low self-control among youth are much scarcer. ...
Article
Dark Triad traits and self-control are considered viable causal precursors to antisocial and criminal outcomes in youth. The purpose of the present study is to concurrently compare how Dark Triad traits and self-control differ in terms of predicting self-reported juvenile delinquency, CD symptoms, proactive overt aggression, and crime seriousness. The sample consisted of 567 (M = 15.91 years, SD = 0.99 years, age range = 14–18 years) Southern European youth from Portugal. Structural-equation-modelling procedures revealed that the psychopathy factor of Dark Triad traits presented the strongest significant hypothetical causal associations with the antisocial/criminal outcomes, followed by self-control. Machiavellianism and narcissism presented the lowest causal associations. Our findings indicate that psychopathy, as operationalized in the Dark Triad, concurrently surpasses self-control and the remaining factors of the Dark Triad in terms of predicting antisocial/criminal outcomes in youth. This suggests that behavioral disinhibition, or a core incapacity to regulate one’s conduct, is central for understanding delinquency and externalizing psychopathology. Comparatively, the interpersonal component of dark personality features, such as Machiavellianism and narcissism, are secondary for understanding crime.
... Studies have also found a relationship between psychopathy and homicide [56,57]. The recent meta-analysis carried out by Fox and DeLisi [56] found a large effect size for the relationship between psychopathy and homicide (0.68); this effect size grew as the type of homicide was more violent (sexual homicide = 0.71; serial homicide = 0.74; sadistic homicide = 0.78; and multi-offender homicide = 0.80). ...
... Studies have also found a relationship between psychopathy and homicide [56,57]. The recent meta-analysis carried out by Fox and DeLisi [56] found a large effect size for the relationship between psychopathy and homicide (0.68); this effect size grew as the type of homicide was more violent (sexual homicide = 0.71; serial homicide = 0.74; sadistic homicide = 0.78; and multi-offender homicide = 0.80). In terms of general homicide, the study by Woodworth and Porter [58] found that the perpetrators of homicide with high psychopathy scores tended to commit homicides that were classified as instrumental (Factor 1), which was explained by the lack of empathy demonstrated by these perpetrators. ...
Article
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High scores in psychopathy were associated with acts of violence, and the prevalence of this condition is greater among the prison population than among the general population. In terms of its relation to femicide, two studies, one carried out in Sweden and another in Spain with a prison population, found that psychopathy is an uncommon condition among perpetrators of femicide. This study analyzes 97 cases of femicide in the whole of Spain, in which it was possible to evaluate the degree of psychopathy of the perpetrators using the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R). The scores are analyzed not only directly, but also in terms of Factors and Facets. The results show an average in the total score of the PCL-R of 14.4, with only 13 subjects (13.4%) presenting scores of 25 or more, and just 3 (3.1%) of these presenting scores of 30 or higher. It was found that, in general, high scores in psychopathy are associated with shorter relationships and less time between the first complaint, the breakup, and the femicide. What is more, characteristics of the victims, such as addiction to toxic substances or economic dependency, also demonstrated a relationship to the scores of the perpetrators of femicide in the PCL-R. Lastly, it was found that the scores in the different dimensions of psychopathy are associated with different types of violence, whereby there was a noteworthy difference between the most explicit violence and control exercised over the partner.
... 16 The meta-analysis from 29 unique samples from 22 studies disclosed that the mean psychopathy score was 21.2%, and psychopathic personality is a major risk factor for various forms of lethal violence and recidivism. 17 Psychopathic personality trait is associated with younger age, male gender, suicide attempts, imprisonment, homelessness, personality disorder (histrionic, obsessive compulsive, borderline, and antisocial), and panic disorder. 18 The majority of offenders (58-97%) who committed sexual murder meet the criteria for psychopathy, as well as being motivated by revenge. ...
... This cross-sectional study assessed the prevalence of psychopathy among newly-admitted prisoners of Bench Sheko and West Omo zone correction center and its associated factors. In this study, the prevalence of psychopathy 28,29 and South Florida, 17 and higher than studies done in China, 12 Germany, 30 and England and Wales. 31 The difference might be due to; sociocultural difference, other studies were not on newly admitted prisoners, tool difference, and study design difference. ...
Article
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Background: Psychopathy is an emerging health and behavioral problem worldwide. Psychopathy is linked to risk substance use, maltreatment, violence, crime, and reoffending, but little is known about psychopathy in low income countries like Ethiopia. Therefore, we assessed the prevalence and factors associated with psychopathy among newly-admitted prisoners in Bench Sheko and West Omo zone correctional center, Mizan Aman, Ethiopia. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted from April 20 to July 19, 2019, among 411 (N=422) newly-admitted Bench Sheko and West Omo zone correctional center prisoners by using a consecutive sampling technique. A semi-structured and interviewer administered psychopathy checklist revised tool was used for screening psychopathy. WHO, ASSIST tool was used for screening risk use of khat, tobacco, and alcohol. Trauma, maltreatment, and social support were assessed with a life event checklist, adverse life experience screening tool, and Oslo social support scale, respectively. In addition, Criminal and clinical history of the prisoner was also assessed. The data was entered into Epi-data 3.1 and exported to Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) Version 21 for statistical analysis. A logistic regression model was used. Variables with a p-value less than 0.05 in the final fitting model were declared as independent predictors of psychopathy. Results: The prevalence of psychopathy was 24.3%. Childhood maltreatment (AOR=6, 95% CI=2.2-17.5), risky khat use (AOR=4.6, 95% CI=2.4-8.7), poor social support (AOR=3.5, 95% CI=1.9-6.6), family history of imprisonment (AOR=3, 95% CI=1.5-6), history of trauma (AOR=2.3, 95% CI=1.1-4.8), and reoffending (AOR=2, 95% CI=1.1-3.8) were positively associated variables with psychopathy. Conclusion: Psychopathy is highly prevalent among newly-admitted prisoners. Integrated efforts involving relevant stakeholders are needed to design strategies for early screening of psychopathy to prevent reoffending, and management of risk substance use at admission is crucial.
... Other influential factors in partner homicides are poor empathy and psychopathy in persons who killed their partners. Psychopathy and lack of empathy (27,28), major predictors of violent and killing behaviors in intimate relationships, are reported to be significantly high in men who kill their partners (16). Many studies have also revealed that men who kill their partners have significantly higher psychopathy scores and lower levels of empathy, and especially those men who kill their partners have significantly higher psychopathy scores than women counterparts (29,30). ...
Article
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Objective: Intimate partner homicide (IPH) and attempted murder behaviors have increased in recent years. In addition, the causes of partner murder are affected by gender dynamics. This study aims to determine whether individuals who committed murder and attempted murder toward their partners differ in terms of empathy, psychopathy, and perceived social support and to determine the predictive variables of IPH toward their partners. Method: This study was carried out with a total of 123 participants (73 women and 50 men) from 10 different prisons. Demographic Information Form, Empathic Tendency Scale, Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale, and Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support were used. Results: A value of 82.19% of women and 60.97% of men were charged with killing their partners. Of these, 24% of women and 7% of men killed their partners by planning. The psychopathy scores of men (56.92±8.45) were found to be higher than women (52.73±8.98). The results of the logistic regression analysis indicate that the behaviors of women to kill and attempt to kill their partners are best predicted by physical violence from their partner, feelings of jealousy toward their partner, and perceived weak social support from a significant other and family. It was found that the best predictive variable for IPH in men was physical violence against their partners during their relationships. Conclusion: It has been evaluated that having insufficient social support and experiencing physical violence from their partners are associated with IPH among women. This result suggests that women use violence against their partners to protect themselves from violence. On the other hand, the physically violent behaviors of men toward their partners during their relationship are an important variable for IPH.
... Other influential factors in partner homicides are poor empathy and psychopathy in persons who killed their partners. Psychopathy and lack of empathy (27,28), major predictors of violent and killing behaviors in intimate relationships, are reported to be significantly high in men who kill their partners (16). Many studies have also revealed that men who kill their partners have significantly higher psychopathy scores and lower levels of empathy, and especially those men who kill their partners have significantly higher psychopathy scores than women counterparts (29,30). ...
... In contrast, consistent and moderated sized correlations were found for all homicidal ideation features and other behavioral disorders including conduct disorder and antisocial personality disorder as well as all psychopathy features. Thus, homicidal ideation generally becomes more salient among those with more severe psychopathology, which is compatible with research linking conduct disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and psychopathy to murder (Fox & DeLisi, 2019;Kolla et al., 2017;Myers, 2004;Myers et al., 1995;Welner et al., 2022). ...
Article
Homicidal ideation is an important, but understudied construct in criminological research. Unfortunately, previous investigations into homicidal ideation are limited by reliance on small convenience samples, larger correctional samples with limited access to the most serious and violent criminal offenders, and single-item measures of the central construct. The current study improves and extends existing research by examining the link between three unique measures of homicidal ideation spanning its frequency, chronicity, and severity on murder and attempted murder among an enriched sample of death-sentenced prisoners in California. Many individuals in these data have extensive criminal careers and multiple homicide offenses. Homicidal ideation frequency and severity were significantly associated with both murder and attempted murder convictions, homicidal chronicity had null effects. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
... 30 Among the general offender population, there is a link between higher psychopathy and premeditated homicide. 31 Psychotic patients may commit clearly different types of violent acts on different occasions because of the involvement of certain personality traits. 26,30 The heterogeneity and circumstantial nature of violence present formidable methodological challenges for research. ...
Article
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The main aim of this study was to ascertain whether a relationship existed between the modus operandi and motivation of homicide, clinical characteristics, and psychopathic traits in schizophrenia. Forty-seven male homicide perpetrators with schizophrenia were included in the study. We classified types of homicide perpetrated by the patients as predominantly impulsive (n = 27) or proactive (n = 20) in nature. We also evaluated the psychotic motivation accompanying the homicide. Forty-four (93.6%) of the homicides were psychotically motivated. The victim was a stranger in only 8.5 percent of the homicides. Use of firearms as a killing method was significantly higher in predominantly proactive homicides (30%) compared with impulsive homicides (3.7%). Infidelity delusions were more frequent in proactive homicides than in impulsive homicides. According to regression models, a predominantly proactive homicide was significantly associated with being married, older age at illness onset, killing with firearms, infidelity delusions and a high PCL-R affective facet score in univariate analyses. Multivariate analyses showed a significant association with infidelity delusions and a high PCL-R affective facet score. Our results confirm that certain predispositions, as well as contextual factors, may be associated with the violent subtype of homicidal behavior in perpetrators with schizophrenia.
... In addition, due to the retrospective nature of the data, important variables that have previously been considered critically important factors influencing homicides of individuals with SSD, such as the presence of psychopathy (Fox & DeLisi, 2019) and adherence to (medication) therapy (Baird et al., 2020;Carabellese et al., 2021) at the time of the offense, could not be examined. Another limitation is the small number of homicidal patients compared to other violent or non-violent patients in our sample. ...
Article
The link between schizophrenia and homicide has long been the subject of research with significant impact on mental health policy, clinical practice, and public perception of people with psychiatric disorders. The present study investigates factors contributing to completed homicides committed by offenders diagnosed with schizophrenia referred to a Swiss forensic institution, using machine learning algorithms. Data were collected from 370 inpatients at the Centre for Inpatient Forensic Therapy at the Zurich University Hospital of Psychiatry. A total of 519 variables were explored to differentiate homicidal and other (violent and non-violent) offenders. The dataset was split employing variable filtering, model building, and selection embedded in a nested resampling approach. Ten factors regarding criminal and psychiatric history and clinical factors were identified to be influential in differentiating between homicidal and other offenders. Findings expand the research on influential factors for completed homicide in patients with schizophrenia. Limitations, clinical relevance, and future directions are discussed.
... In addition, due to the retrospective nature of the data, important variables that have previously been considered critically important factors influencing homicides of individuals with SSD, such as the presence of psychopathy (Fox & DeLisi, 2019) and adherence to (medication) therapy (Baird et al., 2020;Carabellese et al., 2021) at the time of the offense, could not be examined. Another limitation is the small number of homicidal patients compared to other violent or non-violent patients in our sample. ...
Article
The link between schizophrenia and homicide has long been the subject of research with significant impact on mental health policy, clinical practice, and public perception of people with psychiatric disorders. The present study investigates factors contributing to completed homicides committed by offenders diagnosed with schizophrenia referred to a Swiss forensic institution, using machine learning algorithms. Data were collected from 370 inpatients at the Centre for Inpatient Forensic Therapy at the Zurich University Hospital of Psychiatry. A total of 519 variables were explored to differentiate homicidal and other (violent and non-violent) offenders. The dataset was split employing variable filtering, model building, and selection embedded in a nested resampling approach. Ten factors regarding criminal and psychiatric history and clinical factors were identified to be influential in differentiating between homicidal and other offenders. Findings expand the research on influential factors for completed homicide in patients with schizophrenia. Limitations, clinical relevance, and future directions are discussed.
... This finding is consistent with prior research that has found persons with greater homicidal ideation had multiple behavioral disorders that spanned from childhood to adulthood, including conduct disorder and ADHD (DeLisi et al., 2017;Vaughn et al., 2020). This finding is also consistent with a recent meta-analysis that found psychopathy and homicide are strongly related (Fox & DeLisi, 2019), as well as recent research that finds psychopathy as a trait is significantly related to homicidal ideation (Heirigs, 2021). While there exists understandable and substantial pessimism regarding the treatment of psychopathy (Harris & Rice, 2006;Ogloff, Wong, & Greenwood, 1990), the dearth of quality experimental research and advent of promising studies on the treatment of psychopathy suggests that this pessimism may be ill-founded (Salekin, 2002;Skeem, Polaschek, & Manchak, 2009;Skeem, Polaschek, Patrick, & Lilienfeld, 2011). ...
Article
Purpose: Homicide is a leading cause of death among adolescents in the United States, yet criminological research on homicidal ideation is limited. The present study examines the role of social determinants of health (SDoH) and fledgling psychopathy among children and adolescent with emergency department diagnoses of homicidal ideations. Methods: A large sample (n = 35,419,403) of 5-to-14-year-olds admitted to emergency departments in the United States between the fourth quarter of 2015 and the end of 2017 was utilized for this analysis. Logistic regression models and predictive margins were used to assess the relationship between SDoH and fledgling psychopathy on homicidal ideation. Results: A greater number of reported SDoH (one: aOR = 5.38, p < 0.001; two: aOR = 7.21, p < 0.001; three or more: 14.83, p < 0.001), ADHD (aOR = 4.77, p < 0.001), conduct disorder (aOR = 8.25, p < 0.001) and fledgling psychopathy (aOR = 14.62, p < 0.001) were positively associated with a homicidal ideation diagnosis, with the greatest odds present for patients who reported three or more SDoH and had a conduct disorder diagnosis or met the criteria for fledgling psychopathy. Conclusions: Efforts to improve SDoH may be effective targets for behavioral interventions to reduce homicidal ideation in children and the risk of lethal violence perpetration.
... En cuanto a su prevalencia, en población general adulta oscila entre el 1% y el 4,5 % (Sanz-García et al., 2021), mientras que en población forense existe una gran variabilidad dependiendo de los instrumentos y puntos de corte establecidos para definir la psicopatía. En este sentido las cifras oscilan entre un 10 % y un 35 % (Fox & DeLisi, 2019 Tradicionalmente, las posturas acerca del tratamiento de la psicopatía han sido pesimistas (Dujo & Horcajo-Gil, 2017;Salekin, 2002). El pesimismo tiene sus raíces en los trabajos de Cleckley y el estudio de Rice et al. (1992) que sentó las bases de la idea de intratabilidad del psicópata. ...
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Resumen El presente artículo tiene como objetivo el desarrollo de una evaluación forense en el medio penitenciario para determinar la presencia de psicopatología y riesgo de reincidencia, así como la necesidad de tratamiento terapéutico. El interno se encuentra cumpliendo condena de 20 años por más de diez delitos de agresión sexual (violador serial), robo con intimidación y exhibicionismo. La evaluación forense del agresor es un procedimiento muy técnico y complejo condicionado por variables como el contexto, el momento en el que se realiza y las características del evaluado. Se concluye que el peritado presenta rasgos de personalidad compatibles con el constructo psicopatía, con un riesgo de reincidencia delictiva en la actualidad moderado y riesgo de reincidencia de violencia sexual alto, por lo que se necesita intervención psicológica específica. Precisamente por la necesidad de ajustar el tratamiento a las necesidades criminógenas del interno, en el presente artículo se hace una revisión de los últimos datos empíricos sobre la psicopatía y sus tratamientos.
... Auty et al. (2014) also investigated the intergenerational transmission of psychopathy. Psychopathy is related to violence and criminal behaviour (e.g., Blais et al., 2014;DeLisi, 2009;Fox & DeLisi, 2019), and the personality disorder of psychopathy includes lifestyle and antisocial traits (Hare, 2003). It is therefore likely that some of the same mechanisms will be present for psychopathy as for criminal behaviour. ...
Chapter
Intergenerational continuities in criminal behaviour have been well documented, but it is not known whether this extends to the experience of imprisonment. Using data from the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development, this chapter will examine the prevalence of instances of imprisonment in two generations of the study to establish whether there is an association between the imprisonment of a father and that of his son. The Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development (CSDD), is a prospective longitudinal study of the development of delinquent behaviour in a community sample of 411 males. The study began in 1961–1962, with the original cohort (referred to as generation 2, or G2) containing all boys aged 8 or 9 years old from the registers of six schools in south London. The G2 males have participated in nine social interviews throughout their life and their parents (generation 1, or G1) were also interviewed several times during their son’s childhood. The G1 and G2 samples have been searched extensively in the Home Office extract of the Police National Computer for instances of convictions and periods of imprisonment. Regression models will be used to investigate intergenerational continuity of imprisonment and mediation models will examine indirect effects through a range of psychosocial risk factors measured when the G2 males were aged between 8 and 10 years. The results showed that the sons of imprisoned fathers were over twice as likely to be imprisoned themselves. The risk factor of the G2 male having an uninvolved father was the most plausible mediator of this relationship. It is hoped that understanding the specific role of certain psychosocial risk factors may be useful in developing preventative measures to break the Intergenerational cycle of imprisonment.
... Although the prevalence of psychopathy in the general population is estimated to be less than 1% (Coid et al., 2009;Neumann & Hare, 2008), the impact on victims' psychological and physical health is substantial (Boddy, 2014;Kirkman, 2005;Leedom et al., 2012;Mathieu et al., 2014). Psychopathy has been identified as a major risk factor for a multitude of heinous actions, ranging from corporate bullying (e.g., Boddy, 2011) to lethal violence (Fox & DeLisi, 2019). Although much of the research on psychopathy has focused on those with psychopathic traits, the impact on those who survive interactions with these individuals must also be considered. ...
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Limited research exists on the impact of psychopathy within romantic relationships. We examined mental and physical health consequences reported by intimate partners of individuals with psychopathic traits. Additionally, we explored whether psychopathy severity and coping impacted the severity of posttraumatic stress disorder and depression symptoms. Four hundred fifty-seven former and current intimate partners of individuals with psychopathic traits were recruited from online support groups. Victims reported a variety of abusive experiences and various negative symptomatology involving emotional, biological, behavioral, cognitive, and interpersonal consequences. Psychopathy severity and maladaptive coping were significantly related to increased PTSD and depression, while adaptive coping was only related to decreased depression. Regression analyses revealed that experiencing many forms of victimization predicted increased PTSD and depression symptoms. Examining the specific consequences experienced by intimate partners of individuals with psychopathic traits can aid the development of individualized treatment interventions aimed at symptom mitigation, recovery, and prevention of future victimization.
... Specifically, our findings replicated and extended in a sample of adult male offenders associations between externalizing shame coping styles and psychopathic traits, indicating that violent offenders with psychopathic traits tend to avoid the experience of shame or blame and attack others in response to shame eliciting situations. These associations were widespread across the different domains of psychopathy being considered (interpersonal, affective, lifestyle, antisocial), and may explain the reduced subjective experience of shame traditionally ascribed to psychopathic individuals (Cleckley, 1941;Fox and DeLisi, 2019;McCord and McCord, 1964;Meloy, 1988;Millon, 1981). Indeed, these shame coping styles are conceptually conceived as and empirically connected with efforts to bar the subjective experience of shame from conscious awareness (Elison et al., 2006b;Lewis, 1971;Nathanson, 1992;Scheff, 2011), although maladaptive to the extent that they can trigger aggressive tendencies and affective callousing Ribeiro da Silva et al., 2015, 2019a, 2019bVelotti et al., 2014). ...
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Purpose To extend current knowledge on the role of emotion regulation in psychopathy, the present study sought to examine relationships between maladaptive (Attack Self, Attack Others, Avoidance, Withdrawal) and adaptive shame coping styles and psychopathic traits (interpersonal, affective, lifestyle, antisocial) in incarcerated violent offenders. Methods A sample of 266 men incarcerated for violent offenses in Italian prisons (Mage = 37.42, SD = 11.85) completed self-reported measures of shame coping styles, psychopathic traits, and emotion dysregulation. A path analysis was conducted to examine multivariate relationships between shame coping styles and psychopathic traits while controlling for levels of emotion dysregulation. Results Externalizing shame coping styles (Avoidance, Attack Others) were positively related to psychopathic traits across domains. In addition, internalizing shame coping styles were negatively related to the interpersonal and affective traits (Attack Self) and the antisocial traits of psychopathy (Withdrawal). Finally, affective traits of psychopathy had a negative association with adaptive shame coping style. Conclusions Findings highlight that, beyond general problems with regulating negative emotional states, psychopathic individuals may use maladaptive strategies to cope with shame-eliciting situations, which could at the same time protect the self from the painful experience of shame while contributing to externalizing behavior.
... The dimensions included descriptors and constructs such as mutilation, torture, anger, paraphilia, antisocial behavior, and mental illness. This is in line with the findings of Fox and DeLisi (2019), which reported that brutal and callous killers tend to be defined by a constellation of affective, behavioral, and lifestyle characteristics that are associated with impulsivity, shallow emotion, manipulation, pathological lying, self-centeredness, and ongoing violation of social norms. ...
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Sadipaths are the worst of all offenders. They are callous, vicious, and lacking in remorse. This study investigated the beliefs and familiarity that people have with 10 infamous serial killers. The final sample of 455 participants revealed some notable findings regarding various demographic variables and familiarity with serial killers. Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Richard Ramirez were the three most well-known sadipaths. The findings also show that the majority of people do not believe these offenders can be rehabilitated (78.4%) and that most believe they should face the death penalty (65.6%). Most (77%) also believe they have sadistic personalities. The study may be of interest to psychologists, criminologists, lawyers, and social scientists.
... Their low affectivity and the tendency to manipulate and take advantage of others, and the use of aggression and violent behavior to accomplish their goals, cause emotional and material damage to their unfortunate victims (Brazil et al., 2021;Garofalo et al., 2020;Reidy et al., 2015). Studies indicate that psychopathic traits are significantly associated with criminal behavior, violent and sexual offending, and homicide (Dhingra & Boduszek, 2013;Fox & DeLisi, 2019). Moreover, offenders with high levels of psychopathy are disproportionately more prone to recidivate with violent crimes than non-psychopathic offenders (Anderson et al., 2018;Hemphill et al., 1998;Kennealy et al., 2010;Leistico et al., 2008;Olver et al., 2014;Walters et al., 2011). ...
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The harm usually associated with psychopathy requires therapeutically, legally, and ethically satisfactory solutions. Scholars from different fields have, thus, examined whether empirical evidence shows that individuals with psychopathic traits satisfy concepts, such as responsibility, mental disorder, or disability, that have specific legal or ethical implications. The present paper considers the less discussed issue of whether psychopathy is a disability. As it has been shown for the cases of the responsibility and mental disorder status of psychopathic individuals, we argue that it is undecided whether psychopathy is a disability. Nonetheless, based on insights from disability studies and legislations, we propose that interventions to directly modify the propensities of individuals with psychopathic tendencies should be balanced with modifications of the social and physical environments to accommodate their peculiarities. We also suggest how this social approach in some practical contexts that involve non-offender populations might be effective in addressing some of the negative effects of psychopathy.
... It has been one of the most important forensic and clinical concepts, and numerous studies have shown that it is closely related to criminal and antisocial activities (DeLisi, 2016). Higher psychopathy has been associated with more forms and severity of aggressive behaviors such as reactive and proactive aggression (Blais, Solodukhin, & Forth, 2014;Fox & DeLisi, 2019;Rice, Harris, & Lang, 2013;Seibert, Miller, Few, Zeichner, & Lynam, 2011) and more impulsive behaviors (Weidacker, O'Farrell, Gray, Johnston, & Snowden, 2017). In addition, psychopaths have a much higher rate of recidivism than non-psychopaths (McCuish, Corrado, Hart, & DeLisi, 2015;Pechorro, Seto, Ray, Alberto, & Simões, 2019). ...
Article
Although there is considerable understanding on the variant formation of psychopathic traits in offenders within Western countries, the variants of psychopathy in non-Western populations is less well understood. To address this gap, the present study examined subtypes of psychopathy in a sample of 560 Chinese incarcerated male youth (mean age = 16.92, SD = 0.81). Their scores on the factors of the Youth Psychopathic Traits Inventory, childhood traumatic experiences, and trait anxiety were subject to a series of latent profile analyses. Four subgroups were revealed: relatively normal (67.3%), callous, psychopathy-like (2.8%); moderate psychopathy-like (24.8%), and high traumatic, moderate psychopathy-like (5.1%). Moreover, the modified Bolck-Croon-Hagenaars results showed that the psychopathic profiles displayed differences on key variables. Those in the callous, psychopathy-like group endorsed higher levels of aggression and lower empathy. The current study provides initial empirical support for the existence of psychopathy variants within Chinese justice involved juvenile while enhancing the understanding and development of the psychopathic construct in non-Western cultures.
... Furthermore, DeLisi (2009DeLisi ( , 2016 suggested that psychopathy is one of the most important theoretical constructs in criminology. In fact, Fox and DeLisi (2019) conduced a meta-analysis of over 29 studies and found that psychopathy and homicide are strongly related. Moreover, Drury et al. (2017) argued that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) should be included in more criminological studies. ...
Article
Purpose To investigate the relationship psychopathy and childhood maltreatment have on homicidal ideation. Methods Data was collected from 326 criminal justice involved individuals and analyzed using negative binomial regression. Psychopathy was measured using the Elemental Psychopathy Assessment Super-Short Form. Childhood maltreatment included physical abuse, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse. Results Findings showed that psychopathy is a significantly and positively related to homicidal ideation. However, only two of the three subscales of psychopathy remained significant when the construct was disaggregated. Childhood maltreatment was a significant predictor of homicidal ideation in all of the models. Conclusion Overall, the findings suggest that researchers should continue to examine not just psychopathy but also the subscales of psychopathy. Moreover, childhood maltreatment was evidenced to be an important factor for criminologists and criminal justice practitioners to be aware of.
... Voluminous research studies employing data from Belgium (Declercq et al., 2012), Canada McCuish et al., 2015), China (Wang et al., 2020), Cyprus (Andershed et al., 2018), Finland (Lindberg et al., 2009), the Netherlands (Garofalo, Bogaerts, & Denissen, 2018), Portugal (Pechorro et al., 2014;Pechorro et al., 2017), Sweden (Salihovic & Stattin, 2017), United Kingdom (Piquero et al., 2012), and the United States (Driessen et al., 2018;Hawes et al., 2018;Vaughn & DeLisi, 2008) show that psychopathy is strongly predictive of serious or career criminality such that the more varied and extensive the psychopathic features, generally the earlier emerging, more chronic, and more serious the offending career. Similarly, a bevy of meta-analytic studies on antisocial conduct (Leistico et al., 2008), delinquency (Geerlings et al., 2020), serious delinquency (Asscher et al., 2011), instrumental/proactive and reactive violence (Blais et al., 2014), homicide (Fox & DeLisi, 2019), and recidivism (Asscher et al., 2011;Edens et al., 2007) substantiate that psychopathy is an important feature of serious offending and recidivism after a correctional intervention. In this way, the most severe and restrictive components of the criminal justice system, such as maximum-security prisons and death rows are disproportionately populated by clinically psychopathic offenders. ...
Article
Extreme criminal careers illustrate the effects of multiple forms of psychopathology especially the confluence of psychopathy, multiple externalizing behaviors, and homicidality. Here, we present a forensic case report of Mr. Z, an offender whose antisocial conduct and criminal justice system involvement spans the late 1940s to the present, whose criminal career dovetails with significant events in correctional history in the United States in the middle to late 20th century, and who was a multiple homicide offender while incarcerated in both state and federal prisons. The case report method provides rich qualitative data to supplement quantitative findings on psychopathy, career criminals, the severe 5%, and life-course-persistent offender prototypes. Given the extraordinary behaviors and psychopathology of the most severe offenders, forensic case reports are useful to refine criminological theory and research, and inform correctional practice.
... It has been one of the most important forensic and clinical concepts, and numerous studies have shown that it is closely related to criminal and antisocial activities (DeLisi, 2016). Higher psychopathy has been associated with more forms and severity of aggressive behaviors such as reactive and proactive aggression (Blais, Solodukhin, & Forth, 2014;Fox & DeLisi, 2019;Rice, Harris, & Lang, 2013;Seibert, Miller, Few, Zeichner, & Lynam, 2011) and more impulsive behaviors (Weidacker, O'Farrell, Gray, Johnston, & Snowden, 2017). In addition, psychopaths have a much higher rate of recidivism than non-psychopaths (McCuish, Corrado, Hart, & DeLisi, 2015;Pechorro, Seto, Ray, Alberto, & Simões, 2019). ...
Article
Purpose: The current study aimed to identify meaningful subtypes of psychopathic traits among Chinese male offenders. Methods: A Latent Profile Analysis (LPA) based on the scores of the Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale was performed in a large sample of Chinese male prisoners (N = 3,375, M age = 36.03, SD = 9.50). Results: Results of the LPA revealed the existence of four profiles: “moderate psychopathy group” (59.5%); “low psychopathy group” (19.5%); “high psychopathy-moderate callousness group” (14.7%); and “low psychopathy-high callousness group” (6.3%). These profiles differed on most outcome variables including impulsivity, anxiety, depression, reactive aggression and proactive aggression. Conclusions: Overall, findings suggest that the variants of psychopathy found in western populations could be generalized to the non-western populations, and highlighted that a unique psychopathic severity profile with low total psychopathy but high callousness traits might exist among violent offenders. Keywords: psychopathy variant; latent profile analysis; Chinese offenders; heterogeneity
... The notion of the successful psychopath with no significant recorded criminal history has some traction in psychopathy research (see Lilienfeld, Watts, & Smith, 2015). Nonetheless, it should be noted that there is a significant amount of evidence indicating that psychopathic traits overwhelmingly correlate with criminal behavior (for reviews, see e.g., Fox & DeLisi, 2019;Rocque, Welsh, & Raine, 2012;Werner, Few, & Bucholz, 2015). 2. The claim that mental disorders are brain disorders might have at least two interpretations. ...
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Effective and specifically targeted social and therapeutic responses for antisocial personality disorders and psychopathy are scarce. Some authors maintain that this scarcity should be overcome by revising current syndrome-based classifications of these conditions and devising better biocognitive classifications of antisocial individuals. The inspiration for the latter classifications has been embedded in the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) approach. RDoC-type approaches to psychiatric research aim at transforming diagnosis, provide valid measures of disorders, aid clinical practice, and improve health outcomes by integrating the data on the genetic, neural, cognitive, and affective systems underlying psychiatric conditions. In the first part of the article, we discuss the benefits of such approaches compared with the dominant syndrome-based approaches and review recent attempts at building biocognitive classifications of antisocial individuals. Other researchers, however, have objected that biocognitive approaches in psychiatry are committed to an untenable form of explanatory reductionism. Explanatory reductionism is the view that psychological disorders can be exclusively categorized and explained in terms of their biological causes. In the second part of the article, we argue that RDoC-like approaches need not be associated with explanatory reductionism. Moreover, we argue how this is the case for a specific biocognitive approach to classifying antisocial individuals.
... Results allowed the authors to find a strong link between psychopathy and homicide, stronger than that of the present study. They also found that homicide offenders scored significantly higher on Factor 2 than Factor 1 of the PCL (t = 5.76, p < 0.001) (70). ...
Article
The present study was designed to compare gender differences in psychiatric diagnosis with the dimension of psychopathy in women and men who had attempted or committed homicide. The study samples consisted of 39 homicidal females and 48 homicidal males who were confined in one of Italy’s REMS or prison facilities in two southern provinces of Italy (Puglia and Basilicata). Assessment instruments included the SCID‐5, the PID‐5 IRF, and the PCL‐R. Each gender group was stratified according to the level of criminal responsibility for the homicidal offense (full, partial, absent), and after assessments, according to the degree of the psychopathic dimension. There were clear gender differences in homicidal individuals. Female offenders were less likely to have had a record of criminal charges/convictions or imprisonment, and their homicides were more often intrafamilial, victimizing especially of their children, whereas males targeted intimate partners and extrafamilial victims. In the entire group, there was an inverse relationship between the level of psychopathy and the personality disorder on one side, and the psychotic disturbance on the other. Factor 2 (lifestyle/antisocial dimension) of the PCL‐R was higher among the homicidal males, whereas females tended to score higher on Factor 1 (the interpersonal/affective dimension). Finally, if the psychopathic dimension is a qualifier for antisocial personality disorder, as indicated in DSM‐5, this appears to be less true for females who tend to have other personality disorders.
Article
Psychopathy has traditionally been linked with heightened criminality, but the relationship of psychopathy with increased risk for dangerousness is contested. To address this debated issue, we conducted an umbrella review (PROSPERO CRD42020214761) of all available meta-analyses of psychopathy and indices of ‘dangerousness’ (e.g., violent or sexual recidivism, self-reported aggression). We searched PsycINFO, Web of Science, PubMed, and Scopus from inception to August 19, 2022, to identify systematic reviews and meta-analyses on psychopathy and dangerousness. Our review included 33 studies, with the quantitative synthesis including 17 effect sizes extracted from 10 studies (N = ∼77,000 participants). Overall, we observed a pooled correlation coefficient r = 0.284 [95% CI = 0.233, 0.336] for the association of psychopathy with dangerousness (equivalent to Cohen's d = 0.592). Despite considerable heterogeneity (I2 = 89.9%), leave-one-out analyses had minimal impact. The effect was robust to examination of potential moderators such as study quality and sample ages. However, the relationship was stronger when psychopathy was assessed using self-report compared to clinical rating scales. The association should be interpreted as meaningful in both the short-term and the long-term and suggests that psychopathy is one of the strongest predictors of dangerousness in the realm of psychopathology.
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Psychopathy is well-established as a risk-factor and predictor of violent and aggressive behavior. Psychopathic individuals, though an estimably small portion of the population, comprise a large portion of all violent crime committed. Psychopathic individuals display not only criminal versatility, but versatility in their approaches to violent and aggressive behavior. This chapter argues that understanding the association between the distinct facets of psychopathy and types of violent behavior and the mechanisms linking psychopathy to violence, and further establishing evidence-based strategies for men and women, should be a global public health priority in order to effectively break the psychopathy-violence link. Within this chapter, the similarities and differences of violent and aggressive behavioral outcomes, their distinct relations to the construct of psychopathy, implications, and recommendations for future research are explored.KeywordsPsychopathyPsychopathic traitsViolenceAggressionOffendersViolent offending
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In 2012, the United States Supreme Court struck down existing legislative statutes mandating life without parole sentencing of convicted homicide offenders under age 18. The Court’s core rationale credited research on brain development that concludes that juveniles are biologically less capable of complex decision-making and impulse control, driven by external influences, and more likely to change. Closer scrutiny of the research cited in the defendants’ amicus brief; however, reveals it to be inherently flawed because it did not include relevant populations, such as violent offenders; utilized hypothetical scenarios or games to approximate decision-making; ignored research on recidivism risk; made untenable leaps in their interpretation of relevance to the study of homicide, and failed to include contradictory evidence, even from the brief’s authors. In forensic assessment, a blanket assumption of immaturity based on a homicide offender’s age is not appropriate, as research has demonstrated that in relevant respects, older adolescents can be just as mature as adults. An individualized and thorough assessment of each juvenile offender, including an analysis of personal history, behavioral evidence such as pre, during, and post crime behavior, and testing data more accurately inform questions of immaturity and prognosis in juvenile violent offenders.
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Differences in mating preferences, strategies, and goals can lead to romantic relationship conflict. One method of addressing conflict is exploitation, which occurs when deception, manipulation, coercion, or force is used to obtain a resource that the exploited is reluctant to provide. Here we create and provide initial assessment of the Partner Exploitation Inventory, which measures the use of tactics to exploit a romantic partner. Participants (n=172) used an act nomination procedure to generate 62 exploitative acts that may be used against a romantic partner. Next, using a new group of participants (n=516), we grouped the acts into three components that represent different forms of partner exploitation: Harm-Inducing, Ego-Boosting, and Emotional Manipulation. Men reported greater use of Ego-Boosting and Harm-Inducing exploitation, and women reported greater use of Emotional Manipulation exploitation. Evidence for the validity of the Partner Exploitation Inventory was also found through positive associations with questionnaires measuring similar constructs. This study expands our knowledge of men's use of exploitation strategies and is the first study to directly investigate women's use of exploitation strategies. We also created a tool that can be used to examine exploitation in the future.
Chapter
Psychopathy is a personality disorder most similar to Antisocial Personality Disorder and has a network of characteristics that impair interpersonal, emotional, and behavioral functioning. Psychopathy is also the most parsimonious and potent explanation for antisocial behavior in the social, behavioral, and forensic sciences. The current chapter synthesizes recent research on psychopathy and its associations with criminal careers, homicide, and sexual offending, its manifestations among correctional clients within the criminal justice system, and profiles Ted Bundy, a prolific serial sexual homicide offender and career criminal in the United States, whose personality functioning and life history instantiates psychopathy.
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Psychopathy is a personality disorder that has been described in various ways over the last two centuries but is popularly characterized in modern times by a collection of traits including interpersonal-affective features (e.g., lack of empathy, lack of remorse, superficial charm) and antisocial behaviour (e.g., interpersonal violence). Since an overwhelming proportion of the research surrounding psychopathy has focused on criminal justice and forensic populations, the label ‘psychopath’ widely elicits associations with criminals who commit serious violence with minimal chance of rehabilitation. The fear of ‘psychopaths’ remains highly present in the general population which perpetuates stigmatization. Yet, little is known about the impact of this stigma on those so-labelled as psychopathic. This chapter sketches an outline of clinical and research issues and argues that psychopathy engenders specific forms of stigma that is a consequence of a research tradition that has inadvertently marginalised an already-marginalised group with implications for research, assessment and clinical practice, as well as service delivery to this group. Furthermore, it is suggested that conscientiousness on the part of researchers and clinicians to reframe psychopathy as a health issue (rather than merely a criminal one), challenge scientific stereotypes, and develop inclusive research relationships with those from the psychopathic community will open up new ethical and conceptual spaces in knowledge development and a deeper understanding of this most challenging of populations.
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In the decade since the publication of the first edition of The Cambridge Handbook of Forensic Psychology, the field has expanded into areas such as social work and education, while maintaining the interest of criminal justice researchers and policy makers. This new edition provides cutting-edge and comprehensive coverage of the key theoretical perspectives, assessment methods, and interventions in forensic psychology. The chapters address substantive topics such as acquisitive crime, domestic violence, mass murder, and sexual violence, while also exploring emerging areas of research such as the expansion of cybercrime, particularly child sexual exploitation, as well as aspects of terrorism and radicalisation. Reflecting the global reach of forensic psychology and its wide range of perspectives, the international team of contributors emphasise diversity and cross-reference between adults, adolescents, and children to deliver a contemporary picture of the discipline.
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This chapter seeks to provide an overview of several major categories of psychological theories that have been developed and studied over the years to explain violent behaviour. For the purposes of the chapter, we have adopted Christopher Webster et al al’s (1997) conception definition of violence as an intentional act of threatened, attempted, or actual physical and/or psychological harm directed against a non-consenting person. Though this definition is somewhat narrow, excluding dynamic shifts in perspectives on what constitutes violence, it corresponds with much of the existing psychological literature. As part of this review, the following subjects are discussed: (1) a definition of violent behaviour to guide our subsequent reviews, (2) neuropsychological and developmental factors, (3) social cognition and the intersecting roles of affect and cognition, and (4) personality disorders and psychopathy.
Article
Objectives: The aims of the current study were 2-folded. This study examined the recent meta-analyses in the criminology and criminal justice (CCJ) field to capture a snapshot of the current state of publication bias practices and provided practical guidelines and recommendations on how to address the issues of publication bias in meta-analytic reviews. Methods: The content analysis reviewed 64 meta-analyses published in top-tier journals in the CCJ field in 2019–2020. The narrative review of previous simulation studies in medical science and psychology fields was performed to synthesize practical guidelines on publication bias in meta-analyses. Results: Recent CCJ meta-analytic studies have at least partially addressed the issue of publication bias by employing systematic search and statistical methods. However, the current state of CCJ meta-analyses does not meet the expectation required in medical science and psychology that all meta-analytic reviews report the range of effect size estimates across multiple publication bias detection and correction tests. The statistical methods commonly used for assessing publication bias are applied without testing and interpreting assumptions about the missing studies. Conclusions: There is a need to continue monitoring the quality of meta-analyses to gain a comprehensive picture of how bias leaves a potential imprint in CCJ research. Full text available (until 01/12/2022) https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1e7sXAlNEaPCY
Article
Self-control and psychopathy are correlated with antisocial behaviors among diverse samples, and a spate of recent studies examined their direct associations with criminal outcomes. However, research has largely overlooked mediation effects between psychopathy, self-control and deviant outcomes. The current study examined self-control mediation effects related to the triarchic psychopathy construct and juvenile delinquency, crime seriousness, conduct disorder (CD), and aggression outcomes. The sample consisted of N = 567 (M =15.91 years, SD = .99, range =14–18 years) southern-European youth from Portugal. Study design was cross-sectional, quantitative and non-experimental. Mediation analysis using path analysis procedures indicated that low self-control mediates the relation between the Boldness, Disinhibition and Meanness factors of the triarchic psychopathy construct and the delinquency, crime seriousness, CD and aggression outcomes. Findings suggest that self-control is a mediator of triarchic psychopathic features and diverse externalizing behavior outcomes, which adds specificity to their interrelationship as general predictors of antisocial behavior.
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Gang membership is a well-established correlate of criminal offending and violence. This has led scholars to examine the degree to which a variety of risk factors and domains are linked to gang membership, as well as explain the association between gang membership and offending. One such risk factor may be psychopathy. The issue of psychopathology among gang populations is a controversial one, with classic gang scholarship pointing to psychopathic traits as characteristic of gang members, while others outright reject this notion. This relationship takes on added complexity as the factors that produce a psychopath, in general, remain obscure. While research has established that psychopathy maintains genetic origins, a handful of recent empirical works suggest that social factors, such as antisocial peers, are risk factors for the development of psychopathic traits, including impulsivity and callousness. The purpose of this chapter is to explore the relationship between gang membership and psychopathy. We begin by describing psychopathy in criminology, tracing its origins and the theoretical basis for the concept. Second, we apply the concept of psychopathy to gang membership. Here, we review the evidence of psychopathy among gang members. Third, using a modified version of Thornberry, Krohn, Lizotte, and Chard-Wierschem’s (1993) tripartite theoretical model—selection, facilitation, and enhancement—we more fully specify the theoretical basis for a gang membership/psychopathy link. While psychopathy has been studied for over 50 years, social and environmental factors, such as gang membership, remain in the background of explanations for its development.
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Psychopathy has been so consistently associated with numerous forms of violent antisocial behavior that it sometimes characterized as the unified theory of crime. Here we explicate empirical linkages between psychopathy and the most severe forms of crime including various manifestations of homicide offending (e.g., sexual homicide, serial murder, and mass murder, among others), sexual violence, kidnapping, and other forms of predatory criminal behavior. Drawing on our more than four decades of practitioner, researcher, and clinical experiences with the most severe types of offenders, we offer insights to refine, extend, and challenge the academic study of psychopathy.
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While the phenomenon has been researched for more than half a century, the vast majority of studies concentrate on manifestations of psychopathy in offenders already in the criminal justice system. However, both academics and practitioners in the field agree that psychopathic behaviors differ from those of the general population (Hare, 1996; O’Toole & Häkkänen‐Nyholm, 2012), ergo, crimes committed by psychopaths may reveal distinguishing features from those committed by nonpsychopaths. Despite the potentially rich source of data provided by crime scenes, the question of whether psychopathy can be deduced from offenders’ crime scene actions is underresearched, with most studies focusing on motive and victimology. Nonetheless, some recent studies have examined crime scene behaviors, suggesting certain indicators of psychopathy with implications for offense inquiry. The chapter reviews research efforts to establish offending patterns related to psychopathy, examining qualitative differences between psychopaths and nonpsychopaths in terms of violence, victim choice and other offense variables, arguing that since psychopathy is underpinned by a constellation of affective, interpersonal, and behavioral factors, key differences in crime scene actions should be discernible, serving value for police investigations and onward criminal justice protocols. Mindful of benefits crime scene insights bring to investigative procedures, the chapter presents an Investigative Psychology approach, with its focus on the relationship between specific offense actions and offender characteristics. Application of Investigative Psychology methodology and modeling are discussed with respect to advancing the literature on crime scene indicators of psychopathy, and associations between offenders’ interpersonal style and actions during offense commission are suggested with a view to more targeted future research.
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This study tests the hypothesis that psychopathy is more associated with instrumental homicides than mixed and reactive homicides, and explores relationships between Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) facet/item scores and different forms of homicide: instrumental ( n = 130), mixed ( n = 103), and reactive ( n = 219) homicides. Instrumental homicides scored higher on facet 2 ( p < .01) but scored lower on facet 4 ( p < .1) compared to reactive homicides, whereas no facet scores differed between mixed and reactive homicides. Among the items of facet 2 (affective), remorselessness (item 6), and callousness (item 8) were predictive of instrumental homicide.
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Background: The purpose of the current study was to examine the differences in primary and secondary psychopathy scores, criminal social identity dimensions (cognitive centrality, in-group affect, and in-group ties), and criminal network between four groups of juvenile offenders: murderers, attempted murderers, recidivistic nonhomicidal offenders, and first-time nonhomicidal offenders. Participants and procedure: Self-reported data were collected among 725 male youth offenders (Mage = 16.47 years) incarcerated in four prisons in Pakistan. Results: The results revealed no significant differences in scores between the four groups of youth offenders on any of the measured variables. Conclusions: It appears that psychosocial self-reported measures may not be effective in discriminating among youth prison populations.
Article
Purpose The purpose of the current study is to investigate to what extent, and when, psychopathic personality is predictive of violent convictions. Methods By analyzing data from the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development, the relationships between psychopathic personality, childhood risk factors, and violent convictions were investigated prospectively. Psychopathic personality was measured at ages 8–10, 12–14, and 48. A wide range of childhood risk factors (e.g. convicted father, parental discipline, and socioeconomic status) were measured at age 8–10. Violent convictions were available from ages 10 to 61. In addition, specific offenses (robbery, assault, weapons offenses, and threatening behavior) were studied in the analyses. Results Psychopathic personality was predictive of violent offending across the life-course. After controlling for childhood risk factors, psychopathic personality was still a significant predictor of violent convictions. Conclusions Psychopathic personality is predictive of violent convictions across the life-course, even after controlling for important childhood risk factors. Suggestions for future research are discussed.
Article
Psychopathy has been long associated with anxiety, and anxiety has been argued to play an important role in psychopathy-related behaviors, such as aggression. However, these associations have not yet been explored in Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI) Acquittees. The goals of the present study were to test the correlations between the 4-facet psychopathy construct and anxiety, and to assess whether anxiety mediates the association between psychopathy and aggression. In a sample of 81 NGRI acquittees, anxiety was positively related to the lifestyle facet. When testing the mediating role of anxiety on the psychopathy-aggression link, the results showed that low anxiety mediated the link between the interpersonal facet and aggression. By contrast, high anxiety mediated the link between the lifestyle facet and aggression. These results highlight the disparate associations between specific psychopathy features and anxiety in predicting aggressive behavior. The present findings demonstrate that violence reduction strategies may need to become more tailored to individual needs when it comes to reducing risk among people with varying levels of psychopathic traits and serious mental illness.
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Overlap between self-control and dark triad traits (i.e., psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism) is potentially problematic for efforts to distinguish dimensions associated with elevated risk for antisociality and crime. The aim of the present study is to examine the potential overlap between self-control and psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism, with a focus on the Brief Self-Control Scale (BSCS) and the Dirty Dozen Dark Triad scale (DD). The sample consisted of 567 youth (M = 15.91 years, SD = .99 years, age range = 14-18 years) from Portugal. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis results from the pooled set of items of the BSCS and the DD measures revealed that both are valid and reliable measures of their respective constructs. However, consistent with previous research, the narcissism facet of the DD emerged as an independent factor. Our findings suggest that if such an eventual overlap is detected, it would be a question of problematic measures, not constructs.
Article
Self-control and psychopathy are general theories of antisociality that have considerable empirical support, are conceptually similar, and have occasionally been studied together. A recent head-to-head test of the theories and found that self-control generally outperformed psychopathy among assorted criminal outcomes among institutionalized delinquents. Using data from university students (N = 1611) and different measures of self-control (Grasmick et al. scale) and psychopathy (Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale), the current study revisited this work and found that self-control had robust associations with sexual aggression, general aggression, and substance abuse problems, and extreme scores on these outcomes variables. However, the effects of self-control were negated once psychopathy was specified, suggesting that psychopathy is more important for understanding assorted forms of deviance than self-control in the undergraduate population. Given the empirical heft of both theories, we encourage further study to determine which has greater predictive validity for understanding various forms of crime among different populations spanning student, community, forensic, and correctional samples. We also encourage the specification of both self-control and psychopathy as standard control variables.
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The current study aimed to identify meaningful subtypes of psychopathic traits among male offenders. A Latent Profile Analysis (LPA) based on the scores of the Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale was performed in a large sample of Chinese male prisoners (N = 3375, M age = 36.03, SD = 9.50). Results of the LPA revealed the existence of four profiles: “moderate psychopathy group” (59.5%); “low psychopathy group” (19.5%); “high psychopathy-moderate callousness group” (14.7%); and “low psychopathy-high callousness group” (6.3%). Using the modified Bolck-Croon-Hagenaars (BCH) and categorical distal variable (DCAT) methods, we found that these profiles differed on multiple outcome variables including risk for recidivism, anxiety, depression, reactive aggression and proactive aggression. Overall, findings indicate that the variants of psychopathy found in western incarcerated populations could largely be generalized to the non-western populations, and for the first time suggest that a special profile with low total psychopathy but high callousness traits might exist among male offenders.
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The Hare Psychopathy Checklist (PCL; Hare, Neumann, & Mokros 2018) scales are among the most widely used forensic assessment tools. Their perceived utility rests partly on their ability to assess stable personality traits indicative of a lack of conscience, which then facilitates behavioral predictions useful in forensic decisions. In this systematic review, we evaluate the empirical evidence behind 3 fundamental justifications for using the PCL scales in forensics, namely, that they are empirically predictive of (1) criminal behavior, (2) treatment outcomes, and (3) a lack of conscience. We found the PCL scales can predict criminal behavior to a statistically significant degree, though with important limitations. We found no evidence of PCL psychopathy being predictive of treatment and rehabilitation outcomes. We found no evidence of PCL psychopathy being predictive of a lack of conscience. These findings disprove widespread beliefs about PCL psychopathy among forensic practitioners and questions the current and future role of the PCL scales in forensic settings. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved) (Source: journal abstract)
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Comprehensive reply to DeMatteo et al. 2020 in Psychology, Public Policy & Law provides evidence for the reliability and validity of the PCL-R in the assessment of risk for institutional violence.
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Brain structural abnormalities in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and striatum (caudate and putamen) have been observed in violent individuals. However, a uni-modal neuroimaging perspective has been used and prior findings have been mixed. The present study takes the multimodal structural brain imaging approaches to investigate the differential gray matter volumes (GMV) and cortical thickness (CTh) in the OFC and striatum between violent (accused of homicide) and non-violent (not accused of any violent crimes) individuals with different levels of psychopathic traits (interpersonal and unemotional qualities, factor 1 psychopathy and the expressions of antisocial disposition and impulsivity, factor 2 psychopathy). Structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging data, psychopathy and demographic information were assessed in sixty seven non-violent or violent adults. The results showed that the relationship between violence and the GMV in the right lateral OFC varied across different levels of the factor 1 psychopathy. At the subcortical level, the psychopathy level (the factor 1 psychopathy) moderated the positive relationship of violence with both left and right putamen GMV as well as left caudate GMV. Although the CTh findings were not significant, overall findings suggested that psychopathic traits moderated the relationship between violence and the brain structural morphology in the OFC and striatum. In conclusion, psychopathy takes upon a significant role in moderating violent behavior which gives insight to design and implement prevention measures targeting violent acts, thereby possibly mitigating their occurrence within the society.
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In February 2013, a 42 year-old worker in Central Switzerland shot four of his colleagues on his workplace in the canteen unexpectedly, wounded five more seriously and eventually he was shot during the event. This event called " amok " in the lay press can be classified as mass murder according to several authors. There was no apparent reason for this deed, and the perpetrator had not been a mobbing victim nor had he been treated unfairly by his supervisors at work. The district attorney ordered a psychological autopsy of the perpetrator which revealed that he had suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and acted according to his delusions of persecution. This paper discusses how to perform such an investigation. The application of psychological autopsy is strongly recommend in future similar cases.
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Objective: To compare the emotional response and level of anxiety of psychopathic murderers, non-psychopathic murderers, and non-psychopathic non-criminals. Method: 110 male individuals aged over 18 years were divided into three groups: psychopathic murderers (n = 38); non-psychopathic murderers (n = 37) serving sentences for murder convictions in Maximum Security Prisons in the State of Sao Paulo; and non-criminal, non-psychopathic individuals (n = 35) according to the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised. The emotional response of subjects was assessed by heart rate variation and anxiety level (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory) after viewing standardized pictures depicting pleasant, unpleasant and neutral content from the International Affective Picture System. Results: Psychopathic murderers presented lower anxiety levels and smaller heart rate variations when exposed to pleasant and unpleasant stimuli than non-psychopathic murderers or non-psychopathic non-criminals. The results also demonstrated that the higher the score for factor 1 on the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised, the lower the heart rate variation and anxiety level. Conclusion: The results suggest that psychopathic murderers do not present variation in emotional response to different visual stimuli. Although the non-psychopathic murderers had committed the same type of crime as the psychopathic murderers, the former tended to respond with a higher level of anxiety and heart rate variation.
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IntroductionPsychopathy in Children and YouthViolent OffendingSex OffendingConclusion References
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Developmental and life-course criminology (DLC) aims to identify the causes and correlates of offending over the life span, focusing on the within-individual variations that result in criminal and delinquent behavior. While DLC theories have been very successful and increasingly popular in the field of criminology, a key predictor of antisocial and criminal behavior- psychopathy- has been notably absent from the DLC field. In fact, psychopathy is sometimes referred to as the most important construct in the criminal justice system. Many risk factors and personality traits of psychopathy are also similar to those proposed by DLC theories for antisocial and criminal behavior. Therefore, psychopathy may be used in DLC research to help understand the development of offending over the life-course, and improve the ability of current models to predict antisocial and criminal behavior. This article aims to bring psychopathy into DLC research by reviewing the empirical support for psychopathy and 10 major DLC theories, and outlining the specific opportunities for the integration of psychopathy within each theoretical framework. By doing this, we hope to lay the foundation for a new alliance between psychopathy and DLC researchers, and further our understanding of the clear relationship between psychopathic personality, antisocial behavior, and crime.
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Although the evolution of psychopathy as a formal clinical disorder began more than a century ago, it is only recently that scientifically sound psychometric procedures for its assessment have become available. The result has been a sharp increase in theoretically meaningful and replicable research findings, both in applied settings and in the laboratory. The construct of psychopathy is proving to be particularly useful in the criminal justice system, where it has important implications for sentencing, diversion, placement, and treatment options and for the assessment of risk for recidivism and violence. Although the etiology of the predatory, cold-blooded nature of psychopathy remains obscure, the theories and methods of cognitive neuroscience and behavioral genetics promise to greatly increase our understanding of this disorder.
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Researchers undertook a meta-analysis to evaluate the relative short term safety of carotid endarterectomy compared with carotid artery stenting.1 Randomised controlled trials were included if they compared carotid endarterectomy with carotid artery stenting in patients with carotid artery stenosis (with or without symptoms). In total, 10 trials were identified that reported short term outcomes. The primary endpoint was mortality or stroke within 30 days of the procedure.The total overall periprocedural risk of mortality or stroke was lower for carotid endarterectomy than for carotid artery stenting (odds ratio 0.67, 95% confidence interval 0.47 to 0.95; P=0.025). A funnel plot was presented (figure⇓). Egger’s test gave a P value equal to 0.932.
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The purpose of this study was to determine whether proactive and reactive antisocial cognition mediate the effect of Factors 1 (core personality features) and 2 (behavioral deviance) of the Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version (PCL: YV; Forth, Kosson, & Hare, 2003) on violent offending. In this study Bandura et al.'s (1996) Moral Disengagement (MD) scale and the Impulse Control (IC) scale of the Weinberger Adjustment Inventory (WAI; Weinberger & Schwartz, 1990) served as proxies for proactive and reactive antisocial cognition, respectively. It was hypothesized that proactive antisocial cognition (MD) would mediate the Factor 1-violence relationship and that both proactive antisocial cognition and reactive antisocial cognition (IC) would mediate the Factor 2-violence relationship. A 3-wave path analysis of data from 1,354 adjudicated delinquents produced results consistent with the first part of the hypothesis (i.e., proactive antisocial mediation of the Factor 1-violence relationship) but inconsistent with the second part of the hypothesis (i.e., only proactive antisocial cognition mediated the Factor 2-violence relationship). Whereas the direct path from Factor 1 to violent offending was no longer significant when MD and IC were taken into account, the direct path from Factor 2 to violent offender remained significant even after MD and IC were included as mediators. This suggests that whereas proactive antisocial cognition plays a major role in mediating the Factor 1-violence relationship, the Factor 2-violence relationship is mediated by proactive antisocial cognition and variables not included or not adequately covered in the current study. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
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Psychopathic personality disorder (PPD) has important clinical and forensic implications. But much more effort has been devoted to assessing or diagnosing PPD than to explicating or defining it. In the first part of this paper, we describe the development of a conceptual model or “concept map” of PPD. Based on a systematic review of descriptions of PPD in the clinical and research literature, as well as consultation with subject matter experts, we identified key features of the disorder and translated them into 33 symptoms, presented as natural language (i.e., non-technical) trait descriptive adjectives or adjectival phrases. Each symptom in turn was defined by three synonymous adjectives or adjectival phrases. The 33 symptoms were grouped rationally to reflect six domains of personality functioning. In the second part of the paper, we discuss research completed and in progress intended to validate the CAPP conceptual model.
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The Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R; Hare, 2003) is a professional rating scale that enjoys widespread use in forensic and correctional settings, primarily as a tool to inform risk assessments in a variety of types of cases (e.g., parole determinations, sexually violent predator [SVP] civil commitment). Although widely described as "reliable and valid" in research reports, several recent field studies have suggested that PCL-R scores provided by examiners in forensic cases are significantly less reliable than the interrater reliability values reported in research studies. Most of these field studies, however, have had small samples and only examined SVP civil commitment cases. This study builds on existing research by examining the reliability of PCL-R scores provided by forensic examiners in a much more extensive sample of Canadian criminal cases. Using the LexisNexis database, we identified 102 cases in which at least 2 scores were reported (of 257 total PCL-R scores). The single-rater intraclass correlation coefficient (ICCA1) was .59, indicating that a large percentage of the variance in individual scores was attributable to some form of error. ICC values were somewhat higher for sexual offending cases (.66) than they were for nonsexual offending cases (.46), indicating that poor interrater reliability was not restricted specifically to the assessment of sexual offenders. These and earlier findings concerning field reliability in legal cases suggest that the standard error of measurement for PCL-R scores that are provided to the courts is likely to be much larger than the value of 2.90 reported in the instrument's manual. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
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The present meta-analysis explored the relationship between psychopathy and instrumental and reactive violence with a focus on factor and facet scores. At total of 53 studies (reporting on 55 unique samples, N = 8753) from both published and unpublished sources were included. Results from random-effects analyses indicated moderate and significant relationships between psychopathy and both instrumental and reactive violence. There was some evidence that the Interpersonal facet was more important for instrumental violence while Factor 2 (Social Deviance) was more important for reactive violence. The Lifestyle facet appeared important in explaining both violent outcomes. Effect sizes were significantly smaller for clinical rating scales compared to informant and self-report scales. Significant between-study variability was partly explained by mean age of the sample and type of outcome measure. The current findings do not support the conclusion that psychopathy is more related to instrumental violence as opposed to reactive violence.
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Background Violence that leads to homicide results in an extreme financial and emotional burden on society. Juveniles who commit homicide are often tried in adult court and typically spend the majority of their lives in prison. Despite the enormous costs associated with homicidal behavior, there have been no serious neuroscientific studies examining youth who commit homicide. Methods Here we use neuroimaging and voxel-based morphometry to examine brain gray matter in incarcerated male adolescents who committed homicide (n = 20) compared with incarcerated offenders who did not commit homicide (n = 135). Two additional control groups were used to understand further the nature of gray matter differences: incarcerated offenders who did not commit homicide matched on important demographic and psychometric variables (n = 20) and healthy participants from the community (n = 21). Results Compared with incarcerated adolescents who did not commit homicide (n = 135), incarcerated homicide offenders had reduced gray matter volumes in the medial and lateral temporal lobes, including the hippocampus and posterior insula. Feature selection and support vector machine learning classified offenders into the homicide and non-homicide groups with 81% overall accuracy. Conclusions Our results indicate that brain structural differences may help identify those at the highest risk for committing serious violent offenses.
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Although typically described as reliable and valid, the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) has come under some criticism by researchers in the last half-decade due to evidence of poor interrater reliability and adversarial allegiance being reported in applied settings in North America. This study examines the field reliability of the PCL-R using a naturalistic test-retest design among a sample of Swedish life sentenced prisoners (N = 27) who had repeatedly been assessed as part of their application to receive a reduced prison term. The prisoners, who were assessed by a team of forensic evaluators retained by an independent government authority, had spent on average 14 years in prison with a mean time from Assessment 1 to Assessment 2 of 2.33 years. The overall reliability of the PCL-R (ICCA1) was .70 for the total score and .62 and .76 for Factor 1 and 2 scores, respectively. Facet 1-3 scores ranged from .54 to .60, whereas Facet 4 was much higher (.90). Reliability of individual items was quite variable, ranging from .23 to .80. In terms of potential causes of unreliability, both high and low PCL-R scores at the initial assessment tended to regress toward the mean at the time of the second evaluation. Our results are in line with previous research demonstrating concerns regarding the reliability of the PCL-R within judicial settings, even among independent evaluation teams not retained by a particular side in a case. Collectively, these findings question whether the interpersonal (Facet 1) and affective (Facet 2) features tapped by the PCL-R are reliable enough to justify their use in legal proceedings. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
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The civil commitment of offenders as sexually violent predators (SVPs) is a highly contentious area of U.S. mental health law. The Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) is frequently used in mental health evaluations in these cases to aid legal decision making. Although generally perceived to be a useful assessment tool in applied settings, recent research has raised questions about the reliability of PCL-R scores in SVP cases. In this report, we review the use of the PCL-R in SVP trials identified as part of a larger project investigating its role in U.S. case law. After presenting data on how the PCL-R is used in SVP cases, we examine the reliability of scores reported in these cases. We located 214 cases involving the PCL-R, 88 of which included an actual score and 29 of which included multiple scores. In the 29 cases with multiple scores, the intraclass correlation coefficient for a single evaluator for the PCL-R scores was only .58, and only 41.4% of the difference scores were within 1 standard error of measurement unit. The average score reported by prosecution experts was significantly higher than the average score reported by defense-retained experts, and prosecution experts reported PCL-R scores of 30 or above in nearly 50% of the cases, compared with less than 10% of the cases for defense witnesses (κ = .29). In conjunction with other recently published findings demonstrating the unreliability of PCL-R scores in applied settings, our results raise questions as to whether this instrument should be admitted into SVP proceedings. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
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The reliability and validity of the Psychopathy Checklist–Revised (PCL–R) was examined in a sample of 528 nonpsychotic female offenders participating in a study assessing the generalizability of the instrument to females using personality, attitudinal, and laboratory behavioral measures. Results showed good interrater reliability and adequate internal consistency. Correlations with a number of self-report validity measures and previous criminal behavior provide support for the convergent validity of the instrument. A lack of association with general psychopathology provides support for the discriminant validity of the instrument. However, significant correlations with anxiety, negative affectivity, and intelligence run counter to expectations and to findings with male offenders. Furthermore, the low base rate of psychopathy in this sample, relative to base rates among male prisoners, raises the concern that either psychopathy is less prevalent in females than in males or the PCL–R is not adequately assessing the construct in female offenders.
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Little is known about the characteristics of homicides committed by more than one perpetrator. This study examined the crime, victim, and perpetrator characteristics of individual homicides (n = 84) versus multi-perpetrator homicides (n = 40), according to official file information from two Canadian federal penitentiaries. Compared to multiple perpetrators, individual perpetrators were more likely to be older and to target female victims, and their homicides were more likely to contain reactive, sexual, and sadistic elements. Multi-perpetrator homicides tended to involve younger offenders, male victims, and instrumental motives. Psychopathic offenders were likely to act alone in committing sexual homicides and to involve an accomplice in other types of murders, but they typically committed gratuitous violence against women regardless of whether they acted alone or with a co-perpetrator. The findings indicate that individual and multi-perpetrator homicides have distinctive dynamics and can be differentiated during investigations.
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This study investigated the effects of psychopathy on homicidal postoffense behavior, denying the charges at court, appealing the lower court conviction, and final sentencing. A sample of 546 offenders prosecuted for a homicide and convicted in Finland during the 1995—2004 period was examined. Their postoffense behavior, self-reported reasons for the killing, charges, sentences, and psychopathic traits, as measured by the Psychopathy Checklist—Revised, were coded from official file information. Offenders with high scores were more likely than others to leave the crime scene without informing anyone of the killing, to deny the charges, to be convicted for involuntary manslaughter rather than manslaughter or murder, and to receive permission from the Supreme Court to appeal their lower court sentence. Given the risk that psychopathic offenders pose for violent crime, the finding that they are able to manipulate the criminal justice system is cause for concern.
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When observations are normally distributed, the sample standardized mean difference is a consistent and asymptotically efficient estimator of effect size in meta-analysis. However, in some cases the observations are far from normally distributed, and a nonparametric index of effect magnitude is desirable. The logic of the estimator proposed by H. C. Kraemer and G. Andrews (see record 1982-11171-001) is extended to provide related nonparametric estimators of different parameters that may be appropriate under other experimental conditions. (21 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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The aim of the present study was to explore the subtypes of offenders based on psychopathic traits in a sample of 127 adult homicide offenders (n=40.3% convicted of murder, n=32.6% convicted of aggravated murder, n=27.1% convicted of attempted murder). A two-step cluster analysis of the four factors of psychopathy yielded three clusters, which were then compared on the general dimensions of personality defined by the HEXACO model, intelligence, sadism and psychopathology variables conceptualized by the MMPI-202. Cluster 1 was characterized by moderate scores on psychopathy factors, Agreeableness and aggressiveness. Cluster 2 was a psychopathic-like group with the highest scores on psychopathy factors, sadism, aggressiveness and paranoia, and with the lowest scores on Emotionality and Agreeableness. Cluster 3 was a non-psychopathic group with the lowest scores on psychopathy factors and aggressiveness, and with the highest scores on Agreeableness and Honesty-Humility. There were no significant differences between the clusters on intelligence, Openness to experience, Extraversion, Conscientiousness, and a number of psychopathological variables, including depression and anxiety. Present findings did not provide support for the distinction between primary and secondary psychopathy. The current study further contributes to the person-oriented research of psychopathy by emphasizing the differences between the individuals with high, moderate and low psychopathic traits.
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The current study is a review of the utility of psychopathy in violence risk assessment. Psychopathy has long been considered one of the most important factors when assessing the risk for future violence in forensic samples. Concerns about tautology have however indicated a need to critically assess the utility of psychopathy measures in risk assessment. We argue that the focus should be as much on the psychopathic personality in the explanation of violent behavior as on the psychopathic personality in the prediction of violent behavior. The main aim of this article is to contrast and discuss the utility of two different ways of conceptualizing and measuring the psychopathic personality, namely through the PCL scales and the CAPP. Existing evidence suggests that the CAPP and PCL are comparably strong predictors of violent behavior, but the CAPP is more dynamic (compared with the static PCL) and aims to measure psychopathic personality rather than past behavior. It is proposed that the CAPP is more useful in explaining violence and should be utilized more in future risk assessments for violence. Implications for future practice are discussed.
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Purpose: The aim of this study was to identify meaningful subtypes of psychopathic traits among prisoners. Another aim was to estimate the association between psychopathy class membership and type of offending (homicide, general violent, property, and white-collar offences). Methods: A systematically selected representative sample of 1,126 adult male prisoners completed a personality-based self-report measure of psychopathy, the Psychopathic Personality Traits Scale (PPTS). Results: Latent profile analysis revealed five distinct classes of psychopathic traits: a “high psychopathy group” (7.1%)”, a “moderate psychopathy group” (10.8%), a “high interpersonal manipulation group” (20.8%), a “moderate affective/cognitive responsiveness group” (16.8%), and a “low psychopathy group” (44.6%). Multinominal logistic regression showed that general violent offenders were most likely to belong in the high psychopathy group, whereas property and white-collar criminals were most likely to be the members of the high interpersonal manipulation group. Conclusions: Findings suggest that most inmates, even those detained in maximum and medium security units, do not meet the diagnostic criteria for psychopathy. The significance of the present findings is discussed in relation to past and future research as well as clinical practice.
Article
Few studies have examined the extent to which psychopathic traits relate to the commission of mild to moderate acts of deviance, such as vandalism and minor traffic violations. Given that psychopathy is now studied in community populations, the relationship between psychopathic traits and less severe deviant behaviors, which are more normative among noninstitutionalized samples, warrants investigation. The current study examined the relationships between the triarchic model of psychopathy (Patrick, Fowles & Krueger, 2009) and seven forms of deviant behavior (drug use, alcohol use, theft, vandalism, school misconduct, assault, and general deviance) in a nationally representative sample. Triarchic disinhibition positively predicted each form of normative deviance. Boldness positively predicted drug and alcohol use as well as general deviance, while meanness negatively predicted school misconduct. Boldness and disinhibition also positively predicted overall lifetime engagement in deviant behavior. Implications are discussed, including support of the role of boldness within the psychopathy construct.
Article
Purpose: Previous research conceptualized murderers as highly callous and self-gratifying individuals, offending as a result of psychopathic tendencies. The current exploration sought to verify whether murderers differ on psychopathy and criminal social identity from recidivistic and first time incarcerated offenders. Methods: The study compared an opportunistic sample of murderers (n = 94), recidivists (n = 266), and first time offenders (n = 118) on criminal social identity (3 factors: cognitive centrality, in-group affect, and in-group ties) and psychopathy (4 factors: callous affect, interpersonal manipulation, erratic lifestyle, antisocial behavior). Results: Recidivists scored significantly higher on cognitive centrality and in-group ties than murderers. Recidivists score significantly higher than first time incarcerated offenders or murderers on the erratic lifestyle and interpersonal manipulation factors of psychopathy. Additionally, recidivists scored significantly higher on antisocial behavior compared to first time offenders. All three groups of prisoners did not differ in terms of callous affect. Conclusion: Contrary to previous research and media portrayals of homicide perpetration being rooted in psychopathic tendencies such as callous affect, the present findings found no support for such a conceptualization of the crime. Moreover, unsurprisingly, it appears murderers have less developed criminal cognitions than other offending groups.
Article
Background: Neurocognitive dysfunction, a core feature of schizophrenia, is thought to contribute to the impulsive violent aggression manifested by some individuals with schizophrenia, but not enough is known about how homicidal individuals with schizophrenia perform on neuropsychological measures. Aims: The primary aim of our study was to describe the neuropsychological profiles of homicide offenders with schizophrenia. Supplementary analyses compared the criminal, psychiatric and neuropsychological features of schizophrenic homicide offenders with and without God/Satan/demon-themed psychotic symptoms. Methods: Twenty-five men and women diagnosed with schizophrenia who had killed another person - 21 convicted of first-degree murder and 4 found not guilty by reason of insanity - completed neuropsychological testing during forensic evaluations. Results: The sample was characterised by extensive neurocognitive impairments, involving executive dysfunction (60%), memory dysfunction (68%) and attentional dysfunction (50%), although those with God/Satan/demon-themed psychotic symptoms performed better than those with nonreligious psychotic content. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that impaired cognition may play an important role in the commission of homicide by individuals with schizophrenia. A subgroup with God/Satan/demon delusions seem sufficiently less impaired that they might be able to engage in metacognitive treatment approaches, aimed at changing their relationship to their psychotic symptoms, thus reducing the perception of power and omnipotence of hallucinated voices and increasing their safety. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Chapter
In this chapter we address two of the most significant methodological problems hampering predictions of criminal and violent behaviors: the lack of theoretically relevant predictor variables and weak criterion variables (Monahan & Steadman, 1994). To address the limitation of atheoretical predictor variables, we summarize the association between the construct of psychopathy and recidivism. Consistent with current clinical and research practice, our operational definition of psychopathy is the Hare Psychopathy Checklist (PCL; Hare 1980); its revision, the Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R; Hare, 1991); a version of the PCL-R modified for use with adolescents (Forth, Hart, & Hare, 1990; Forth, Kosson, & Hare, in press); and a French translation of the PCL-R (Hare, 1996a). We also compare the predictive utility of the PCL/PCL-R with key demographic and criminal history variables, personality disorder diagnoses, and actuarial risk scales. To address the limitation of weak criterion variables, we describe two methods of measuring and analyzing criminal behaviors: survival analyses and Criminal Career Profiles (CCPs; Templeman, 1995; Wong, Templeman, Gu, Andre, & Leis, 1997). We emphasize the strengths of the newly developed CCP methodology for providing an overall measure of criminal behaviors. To illustrate the benefits of the CCP methodology for conceptualizing, coding, analyzing, and presenting criminal behaviors, we present 10-year outcome data from a random sample of federal offenders.
Chapter
The Psychopathy Checklist (PCL; Hare, 1980) and its revision (PCL-R; Hare, 1985a, in press) are clinical rating scales that provide researchers and clinicians with reliable and valid assessments of psychopathy. Their development was spurred largely by dissatisfactions with the ways in which other assessment procedures defined and measured psychopathy (Hare, 1980, 1985b).
Article
The purpose of this study was to determine whether a subset of items from the 20-item Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) could be used to construct a two-dimensional model (fearlessness, disinhibition) of adult temperament relevant to psychopathy and antisocial behavior. This theory-guided model was created by combining six items from the interpersonal and affective facets of the PCL-R into a single dimension (fearlessness) and taking four items from the lifestyle facet and forming a second dimension (disinhibition). A confirmatory factor analysis performed on a sample of 2753 adult offenders and forensic patients was used to compare the two-dimensional model to several alternate models. The results indicated that the two-dimensional model achieved a significantly better fit than a one-dimensional model and demonstrated better absolute fit than the traditional two-, three-, and four-factor models and the recently proposed triarchic model of psychopathy. In addition, latent factor scores derived from both dimensions of the two-dimensional model displayed incremental validity relative to Facet 4 (antisocial) of the PCL-R in predicting subsequent offending. These findings indicate that a theoretically derived two-dimensional model of temperament may be of assistance in clarifying psychopathy and other crime-related constructs.
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IntroductionIndividual studiesThe summary effectHeterogeneity of effect sizesSummary points
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The relationship between psychopathy and violence among incarcerated and institutionalized samples has received considerable attention, but less is known about the risk of violence posed by psychopaths in the community, particularly those with no prior contact with the criminal justice system. Moreover, little is known about why some psychopaths have avoided being arrested. This study considered the role of specific protective factors in relation to Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) scores and three measures of antisocial behavior among 54 community participants with and without criminal histories. The methodology effectively recruited individuals with moderately elevated PCL-R scores. Roughly 40% of the sample reported no history of arrests, and a sizeable portion of both criminal and noncriminal participants reported a history of violent behavior. Results revealed no significant relationship between protective factors and participants' PCL-R scores and involvement in antisocial behavior. Secondary analyses found a significant negative correlation between protective factors and PCL-R scores for participants with higher levels of psychopathic characteristics. Finally, noncriminal participants endorsed considerably more protective factors than criminal participants. Findings suggest that protective factors may hold promise for explaining why some high-risk individuals can avoid contact with the criminal justice system.
Article
Psychopathy in adults has been well documented as a robust predictor of violence. Explanations for this relation have focused on the affective deficit that characterizes psychopathy. This study examined the relations among psychopathic traits, empathy, attachment, and motivations for violence in 51 incarcerated adolescent offenders. Psychopathy scores were related to both instrumental and reactive violence. Youths who were classified as instrumentally violent scored higher on psychopathy than those who were not, which could be attributed to the interpersonal and affective features of psychopathy. These findings provide support for the construct of psychopathy existing in youths. Implications of the current study for potential interventions and prevention of persistent violent offending are discussed.
Article
The declaration that the Psychopathy Checklist–Revised (PCL-R) is the “unparalleled” measure of offender risk prediction is challenged. It is argued that such an assertion reflects an ethnocentric view of research in the area and has led to unsubstantiated claims based on incomplete attempts at knowledge cumulation. In fact, another more comprehensive risk measure, the Level of Service Inventory–Revised, notably surpasses the PCL-R in predicting general (&phgr; = .37 vs. .23) and violent recidivism, albeit only modestly so in the case of the latter (&phgr; = .26 vs. .21). In addition, other problematic issues regarding the PCL-R are outlined. Finally, it is suggested that a more useful role for psychopathy in offender risk assessment may be in terms of the responsivity dimension in case management. Finally, the authors suggest further research directions that will aid in knowledge cumulation regarding the general utility of offender risk measures.