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Surviving Senior Psychopathy: Informant Reports of Deceit and Antisocial Behavior in Multiple Types of Relationships

  • Lovefraud Education and Recovery


A prevailing view among researchers and mental health clinicians is that symptoms of antisocial personality disorder (ASPD)/psychopathy decrease as affected individuals reach middle age. In the current investigation, informants were surveyed about the behavior of individuals who they believed showed traits of ASPD/psychopathy and were over the age of 50. A final sample of 1,215 respondents rated the index individuals according to the ASPD/psychopathy traits derived from the pre-publication first draft of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition, revealing high endorsement of traits associated with ASPD. Survey respondents reported their observations that individuals who met a threshold for putative ASPD/psychopathy continued to engage in antisocial behavior after age 50, and as a result the respondents endured significant harm, including material losses, financial losses, and various self-reported mental health problems. Those who knew the index individuals both before and after the age of 50 were specifically asked whether there was a change in the individual’s engagement in manipulation, deceit, and antisocial behavior; 93% of respondents reported that the behavior was just as bad or worse after age 50. Other researchers have suggested that the DSM diagnostic criteria do not accurately describe ASPD/psychopathy symptoms and behavior in older adults, and that the disorder remains stable, but its manifestation changes with age. This study supports those conclusions.
Surviving Senior Psychopathy: Informant Reports of Deceit and Antisocial Behavior in
Multiple Types of Relationships
Donna M. Andersen
Lovefraud Education and Recovery
Emma Veltman & Martin Sellbom
University of Otago
Author Note
Donna M. Andersen, ORCID 0000-0002-1624-9375, Lovefraud Education and Recovery,
Egg Harbor Township, NJ; Emma Veltman & Martin Sellbom, Department of Psychology,
University of Otago.
We have no conflicts of interest to report.
Correspondence regarding this article should be addressed to Donna M. Andersen,
Lovefraud Education and Recovery, a New Jersey Nonprofit Corporation, 3121-D Fire Road
#304, Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234. Email:
Andersen, D. M., Veltman, E., & Sellbom, M. (2022). Surviving Senior Psychopathy: Informant
Reports of Deceit and Antisocial Behavior in Multiple Types of Relationships.
International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology.
A prevailing view among researchers and mental health clinicians is that symptoms of antisocial
personality disorder (ASPD)/psychopathy decrease as affected individuals reach middle age. In
the current investigation, informants were surveyed about the behavior of individuals who they
believed showed traits of ASPD/psychopathy and were over the age of 50. A final sample of
1,215 respondents rated the index individuals according to the ASPD/psychopathy traits derived
from the pre-publication first draft of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
Fifth Edition, revealing high endorsement of traits associated with ASPD. Survey respondents
reported their observations that individuals who met a threshold for putative ASPD/psychopathy
continued to engage in antisocial behavior after age 50, and as a result the respondents endured
significant harm, including material losses, financial losses, and various self-reported mental
health problems. Those who knew the index individuals both before and after the age of 50 were
specifically asked whether there was a change in the individual's engagement in manipulation,
deceit, and antisocial behavior; 93% of respondents reported that the behavior was just as bad or
worse after age 50. Other researchers have suggested that the DSM diagnostic criteria do not
accurately describe ASPD/psychopathy symptoms and behavior in older adults, and that the
disorder remains stable, but its manifestation changes with age. This study supports those
Surviving Senior Psychopathy: Informant Reports of Deceit and Antisocial Behavior in
Multiple Types of Relationships
Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) and its theoretical target construct, psychopathy
(Sellbom & Boer, 2019), are related conditions in which affected individuals routinely violate
social norms and standards and cause harm to others (Polaschek, 2015). Robert Hare, for
instance, noted that, "Psychopaths are social predators who charm, manipulate, and ruthlessly
plow their way through life, leaving a broad trail of broken hearts, shattered expectations, and
empty wallets." (Hare, 1993, p. xi). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,
Fifth Edition (DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association [APA, 2013]) summarizes antisocial
personality disorder as a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others,
indicated by failure to conform to social norms, deceitfulness, impulsivity, irritability,
recklessness, irresponsibility, and a lack of remorse.
Psychopathy has been shown to account for disproportionate amounts of crime and
violence in society (Douglas et al., 2018; Hare & Neumann, 2008; Skeem et al., 2011). This
construct has become especially current in forensic and correctional psychology for its perceived
utility in predicting reoffending (e.g., Skeem et al., 2011). The effect of individuals with elevated
psychopathic traits on society beyond forensic/correctional settings has been documented as well
(e.g., in organizational settings; Babiak et al., 2010; in community samples, Neumann & Hare,
2008). However, while many individuals are victimized by individuals with psychopathic traits,
only a few accounts in the psychopathy literature have captured their perspectives and lived
experiences (Kirkman, 2005; Leedom et al., 2013; Humeny et al., 2020).
Although the disorder is considered chronic and long-term, the conventional wisdom
among mental health researchers and clinicians, as reflected in psychiatry textbooks and
numerous studies, is that antisocial behavior decreases as people diagnosed with ASPD or
psychopathy grow older, usually around age 40 (Stone, 2007; Moore & Puri, 2012; Black, 2015;
Sadock et al., 2016). The American Psychiatric Association Publishing Textbook of Psychiatry
states specifically, "Longitudinal follow-up studies have shown that the prevalence of ASPD
diminishes with age, as these individuals become more aware of the harmful effects of their
maladaptive social and interpersonal behaviors" (Skodol et al., 2019, p. 731). Most of these
generalizations, however, are based on studies that examined antisocial personality disorder in
institutional settings, and used crime as the major outcome variable. The current investigation
examined the association between ASPD/psychopathy and harmful behavior in the community,
beyond involvement with the criminal justice system, and from an informant (and usually,
victim) perspective.
Antisocial Behavior and Age
Criminologists noted the strong association between age and crime as far back as 1857,
when Neison reported data on criminal offenders in England and Wales (Hirschi & Gottfredson,
1983). Many scholars described a sharp increase in the rate of crime and other deviant behaviors
in mid-adolescence, followed by a sharp decrease in these behaviors in early adulthood
(Blonigen, 2010; Moffitt, 1993). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,
Third Edition (DSM-III; American Psychiatric Association [APA, 1980]) codified the concept of
antisocial behavior decreasing with age, describing the behaviors associated with ASPD as
Lying, stealing, fighting, truancy, and resisting authority are typical early
childhood signs. In adolescence, unusually early or aggressive sexual behavior, excessive
drinking, and use of illicit drugs are frequent. In adulthood, these kinds of behavior
continue, with the addition of inability to sustain consistent work performance or to
function as a responsible parent and failure to accept social norms with respect to lawful
behavior. After age 30 the more flagrant aspects may diminish, particularly sexual
promiscuity, fighting, criminality, and vagrancy. (DSM-III, APA, 1980, p. 318)
Harpur and Hare (1994) used the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R; Hare, 1991) to
examine psychopathy as a function of age in 889 male prison inmates. The researchers found that
scores for Factor 1 (affective-interpersonal traits) were stable in their sample, whereas Factor 2
(behavioral traits) scores declined. Thus, their results indicated that impulsivity, social deviance,
and antisocial behavior declined with age, whereas the egocentric, callous, and manipulative
traits did not. Similarly, Huchzermeier et al. (2008) evaluated 226 male violent offenders ranging
in age from 18 to 59 for both ASPD, as defined by the DSM, and PCL-R-based psychopathy.
They found that both ASPD and psychopathy scores decreased as age increased, although the
change in psychopathy scores was due entirely to changes in Factor 2. These results were
reported to support the idea of an antisocial burnout process.
Other scholars, however, have long noted that many antisocial or psychopathic
individuals did not refrain from antisocial behavior as they aged. Black et al. (1995) observed
that ASPD appeared to be chronic, and that although criminal arrests and convictions tended to
decline with age, other antisocial symptoms may continue. To explore the rates of improvement
and long-term outcome of adult ASPD, they studied a group of 71 patients who had been
discharged from the University of Iowa Psychiatric Hospital between 1945 and 1970, and
retroactively met the criteria for ASPD. Following up with 26 of the patients 16 to 45 years later,
when they were aged 41 to 67, they found that 27% of the subjects had remitted, 31% had
improved but not remitted, and 42% were unimproved or worse.
The literature on antisocial behavior decreasing with age in those with psychopathy and
ASPD is inconsistent at best. Support for a “burnout” phenomenon comes primarily from studies
that show decreasing criminality with age, but almost nothing is known about antisocial behavior
among older adults that does not result in direct involvement with the criminal justice system.
Even recent research that did document some criminality among adults aged 50 or older pointed
out that the data relied on a limited number of criminal behaviors (Holzer et al, 2020). There are
no research findings related to the experiences of victims and other informants regarding
disordered older adults that would further elucidate whether changes in non-criminal forms of
antisocial conduct occurs. Furthermore, multiple scholars have also noted the lack of empirical
data about personality disorders in older populations in general (Segal et al., 1996; Segal et al.,
2006; Gill & Crino, 2012; Schuster et al., 2013). Oltmanns and Balsis (2011) contended that the
most basic explanation for the dearth of research was the difficulty of identifying appropriate
samples of older adults, as most psychology researchers use samples of convenience, such as
prisoners and college students. Relying on such convenience samples, they argued, may prevent
the field from answering practical questions such as whether the current diagnostic criteria work
for all demographic groups.
The Current Study
The current investigation aimed to contribute to the literature on personality disorders in
older adult populations, and in particular, examine the question of whether ASPD/psychopathy
remits with respect to antisocial behavior in middle-aged to older adults. No previous study, to
our knowledge, has examined the association between ASPD/psychopathy and conceptually
relevant harmful behaviors perpetrated by older individuals from the perspective of an informant
(and in most cases here, a victim). The current study also expanded upon previous literature by
focusing on behaviors and outcomes that go beyond involvement with the criminal justice
system, including providing phenomenological data on respondents’ direct experience with older
individuals who have antisocial/psychopathic personality traits.
The first author (DA) had access to a large pool of informants through her website,
—people who lived with, worked with, or were otherwise acquainted with
individuals whom they suspected had ASPD or were psychopathic. In an effort to gather data on
putative antisocial or psychopathic traits over the age of 50—an age by which, according to the
literature, antisocial behavior should be significantly reduced—she invited Lovefraud readers to
complete a survey on such individuals. The goal of the survey was to provide detailed
descriptions of the informants' lived experiences with individuals whom they believed to be
disordered, and thereby add to the understanding of the natural history of ASPD and
psychopathy. Research questions to be answered included:
1. Did informants who knew the putative antisocial or psychopathic individuals both
before and after age 50 observe any "mellowing out" or "burning out" in their behavior?
2. Did putative antisocial or psychopathic individuals who were age 50 or older cause
harm to romantic partners, family members, work colleagues, and friends?
3. What harm did the informants experience due to the putative antisocial or psychopathic
individuals who were age 50 or older?
Indeed, the first author was perplexed by the assertion that people with antisocial personality disorder or
psychopathy burn out around age 40. She married a 55-year-old man who was later deemed to be psychopathic
(Leedom, Geslien, & Hartoonian Almas, 2012). This man turned out to be a prolific liar and con artist who swindled
$227,000 from her, took additional thousands of dollars from multiple women with whom he conducted extramarital
affairs, had a child with one of those women, and committed bigamy. Because of her experience, she founded, a website that teaches people to recognize and recover from disordered individuals, and heard
similar stories from thousands of readers.
4. Was the severity of informant ratings on ASPD/psychopathy associated with severity
magnitude of reported harm to the informants?
General Procedure
Visitors to, a popular website that aims to educate the public regarding
personality disorders and their impact on the family and society, were invited to participate in a
survey about their observations of antisocial behavior exhibited by a person over the age of 50.
They were recruited through articles and advertisements on the website, and those who joined
the mailing list also received emails about the study. The survey was available
from August 26, 2016, through until June 4, 2017 on SurveyMonkey. It included a 90-item
questionnaire with both Likert-scale and open-ended response options regarding the respondents'
experiences with an index individual whom the respondent suspected might be psychopathic.
The survey is described in further detail below. No compensation was provided for study
Respondents were a purposive sample of readers. A total of 2,119
respondents provided informant reports of antisocial individuals in the community who were age
50 or older via the online survey. Of the respondents, 1,215 completed the entire survey,
including rating the individuals according to ASPD/psychopathy traits derived from the pre-
publication first draft (APA, 2010; see Crego et al., 2016, for an overview) of the Diagnostic and
The introduction to the survey read: "The purpose of this survey is to gather information for a book that will
describe antisocial behavior exhibited by people who are over the age of 50. Please complete this survey in
reference to your experience with only one person. If you wish to describe another experience with an additional
individual, feel free to complete another survey. NOTE: Even if you have known or been involved with this person
before he or she reached the age of 50, please answer all questions in the context of what you observed or
experienced when the individual was over the age of 50."
Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM-5) Section III Alternative Model for
Personality Disorders (AMPD; APA, 2013),
which encompassed all seven of the ASPD traits
ultimately selected for DSM-5 AMPD. The remaining 904 respondents were excluded from
descriptive analyses because ASPD status could not be determined.
The final sample comprised 1,094 females (90%) and 112 males (9%), with 11 electing
not to disclose gender. Respondents described their relationship with the index individuals as
current or former spouses/romantic partners (n = 843), parent/stepparent (n = 192), family
members (n = 82), work associates (n = 27) and friends/acquaintances (n = 50), with 23
respondents electing not to disclose relationship type. The respondents' ages ranged from 14-
71+, with 69% being over the age of 50. Their ethnic distribution was predominantly White
(87%), with the remaining individuals identifying as Black (3%), Hispanic (2%), Asian (1%),
Middle Eastern (1%), mixed (3%), or other (2%). With regards to educational level, 7% of
respondents were high school graduates, 30% had some college or vocational training, 35% were
college graduates, and 27% had advanced degrees. The age at which the respondent met the
index individual about whom they responded varied greatly, with 18% of respondents knowing
the individual since they were between 0-13 years old (including respondents who described a
parent, stepparent, or family member), 7% who met them between 14-20 years old, 12% between
21-30 years, 14% between 31-40 years, 22% between 41-50 years, and finally, 27% of
respondents met the individual while they were over the age of 50.
Of the index individual individuals being described, 937 (77%) were male, and 253
(21%) were female, while one was identified as "transgender or other" (the gender was not
3 first collected data using the DSM-5's initial proposed diagnostic criteria for
"antisocial/psychopathic type" in 2010 in order to provide feedback to the APA DSM-5 personality disorders work
group. Since then, Lovefraud has conducted seven reader surveys, with nearly 9,000 total responses, using the same
personality trait ratings.
disclosed regarding the remaining 26). Their races were identified as White (85%), Black (4%),
Hispanic (2%), Asian (2%), Middle Eastern (1%), mixed (3%), or other (3%). All index
individuals being rated by the respondents were age 50 or older at the time of the study, with
48% between ages 51-60, 33% between 61-70, 15% aged 71 or older, and 4% deceased (with 13
respondents electing not to disclose the index individual’s age).
The survey responses were organized with respect to multiple domains of harm that the
index individual, while over the age of 50, had inflicted upon the respondent or other people.
These domains included relationship characteristics, maltreatment of children, organizational
issues, manipulativeness, violent behavior, financial loss, and abuse. Several of these domains
were used for descriptive analysis. The results section provides more information about the
specific questions, including one open-ended question that was selected to be coded in detail.
Furthermore, for a quantitative analysis, we designed a range of dimensional variables based on a
thematic analysis of the survey responses. These variables are described here.
AMPD-ASPD/Psychopathy. Respondents rated index individuals according to nine
AMPD-ASPD criteria. Specifically, the traits were callousness, aggression, manipulativeness,
hostility, deceitfulness, narcissism, irresponsibility, recklessness, and impulsivity. Although
these criteria differ slightly from subsequent versions of the DSM-5 AMPD, the rated criteria
sufficiently cover the full current AMPD-ASPD seven-trait profile, and the inclusion of
aggression and narcissism (i.e., grandiosity) only further anchors it with psychopathy (Anderson
et al., 2014; Wygant et al., 2016, 2020). Respondents were provided a written description of each
trait, which was to be rated on a three-point response scale, ranging from “0 = Very little or not
at all like that” to “3 = Extremely like that." This rating scale is consistent with the APA’s
AMPD trait rating form. For complete text of the trait descriptions, see Online Supplemental
Materials, Section 1.
We averaged these traits into a total AMPD-ASPD score, with a total possible score of 3.
An average of 2.0 was considered to be indicative of ASPD/psychopathy (see Samuel et al., 2013
for a rationale and empirical support) for the purposes of reporting descriptive results. This
method increased the confidence that the index individuals described by the respondents would
actually be considered high on ASPD/psychopathy.
Although many have questioned whether ASPD is an adequate operationalization of
psychopathy (Sellbom & Boer, 2019), research has consistently shown that the AMPD
operationalization outperforms the traditional DSM ASPD criteria in capturing psychopathy,
across various measures and perspectives, in community (Anderson et al., 2014) and both male
and female correctional samples (Wygant et al., 2016; 2020).
Quantitative Outcome Variables. These variables were created by identifying the
overarching types of harmful outcomes that were covered by survey content, and subsequently
aggregating quantitative survey responses (as opposed to descriptive qualitative responses) that
were considered indicative of each identified harm type. This resulted in the identification of six
aggregate harm variables: negative relationship characteristics (Cronbach’s α = 0.75), child
maltreatment (Cronbach’s α = 0.76), rule-oriented workplace harm (Cronbach’s α = 0.81),
person-oriented workplace harm (Cronbach’s α = 0.67), physical and emotional harm to
respondent (Cronbach’s α = 0.76), and material and financial harm to respondent (Cronbach’s α
=0.68). A brief description of each of these variables is outlined below.
Negative characteristics of relationship with respondent. This variable indicated the
extent to which the respondent’s relationship with the index individual featured negative
characteristics such as dishonesty, inconsistency, insincerity, or superficiality, as well as
manipulative or unempathetic behavior. Such characteristics reflected the endorsement of items
about the index individuals, including lying about their age, sexual orientation, marital status, or
occupation; disappearing without explanation; switching love on and off; making promises that
failed to materialize; being manipulative; focusing predominantly on sexual interactions; failing
to acknowledge hurtful actions; isolating the respondent from other social support; and being
evasive about their past.
Maltreatment of dependent children. If the respondent was familiar with the index
individual’s behavior as a parent or stepparent, then this variable referred to the individual’s
treatment of dependent children (whether biological, adopted, or stepchildren) under their care,
in particular whether this treatment was inappropriate, abusive, or caused harm in some way.
Maltreatment was indicated if the respondent endorsed items that suggested the index individuals
were indifferent or neglectful, manipulative towards the children, abandoned the children, or
engaged in behavior that prompted investigation by child protection services. It also included the
endorsement of items indicative of abuse of children, such as physical abuse, emotional abuse,
psychological abuse, sexual abuse, and financial abuse.
Rule-oriented harmful behavior in the workplace. For respondents who interacted with
the index individual as a work colleague or business associate, this variable reflected the extent
to which the index individual engaged in rule-oriented harmful behavior within the workplace,
such as behaviors that violate explicit or implicit rules and predominantly harm the organization
rather than an individual. This included being untrustworthy, stealing from the organization,
being investigated or disciplined for wrongdoing that violated policy or law, or engaging in such
wrongdoing without being caught.
Person-oriented harmful behavior in the workplace. For respondents who interacted
with the index individual as a work colleague or business associate, this variable reflected the
extent to which the index individual engaged in person-oriented harmful behavior that directly
harmed other people within the workplace. This included blaming others for their own
wrongdoing, taking credit for the work of others, manipulating others in the organization,
causing turmoil among co-workers, causing co-workers to be reprimanded or terminated,
bullying others, or engaging in sexual harassment in the workplace.
Emotional and physical harm to respondent. This variable reflected the variety of
physical and emotional harm inflicted on the respondent by the index individual that caused
physical injury or illness, and/or emotional distress to the respondent. These types of harms
included physical injury; sexually transmitted disease; stress-related illness; psychopathology
such as anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); threats to life; suicidality;
or infidelity. Moreover, this also included physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse.
Material and financial harm to respondent. This variable reflected harm inflicted upon
the respondent by the index individual that was primarily material in nature. This included
respondents reporting financial abuse; loss of a home, business, or job; incurring debt; declaring
bankruptcy; having lawsuits or criminal charges filed against them; or pets being injured or
killed as a result of the individual’s behavior.
Data Analysis
Many quantitative survey responses were thematically grouped into the six harm outcome
variables based on their similarity in the types of harm they represent, and the context within
such harm occurred. For example, physical and emotional harm was distinguished from material
or financial harm due to the distinct nature of these behaviors and the associated consequences,
and workplace harm was distinguished from that against dependent children, as these individual
contexts were uniquely informative. The aggregate harm outcome variables were calculated by
averaging the scores of the individual variables (on a continuous standardized metric, Z-scores)
whereby a higher value represented a greater degree of endorsement of survey responses related
to that group of harmful outcomes. The aggregate harm outcome variables were used in
quantitative data analyses (bivariate correlations). Remaining quantitative survey responses of
direct interest to the key research questions were analyzed descriptively in those deemed to be
meet threshold for AMPD-ASPD/psychopathy (see earlier).
Furthermore, we also took a qualitative approach in which we thematically analyzed
responses to one open-ended question about changes to the respondent’s relationship with the
target individual after age 50, with a particular focus on romantic relationships. This was the
most common relationship type and would therefore provide the most reliable information.
However, narrative responses were also reviewed to determine whether similar themes in
responses to this question were evident among other relationship types (e.g. parental
relationships, acquaintances and business associates), and representative anecdotes are provided.
Identification of ASPD/Psychopathy Traits
The nine ASPD/psychopathy trait ratings demonstrated good internal consistency with a
Cronbach’s α of 0.81 across the nine items. As is evident in Table 1, respondents' ratings of
index individuals revealed high endorsement of traits associated with ASPD, with a mean total
score of 2.35 (SD 0.57) and the mean scores for each of the nine traits coming in above 2 except
for recklessness, which had a mean of 1.83 (SD 1.15). This meant 77% of index individuals
scored at or above the cut-score considered indicative of AMPD-ASPD/psychopathy that was
used in the descriptive analyses.
Descriptive Analyses
To address our research questions, we first examined a subset of responses regarding
those index individuals with sufficiently high DSM-5 AMPD-ASPD scores to be in the high
ASPD/psychopathy range (n = 935). These results are displayed in Tables 2-3.
Evidence of Behaviors Associated with ASPD/Psychopathy After Age 50. As shown
in Table 2, respondents’ reports of index individuals clearly indicated the presence of behaviors
associated with ASPD/psychopathy (i.e. substance abuse, manipulativeness, violence, abuse, and
criminal behavior) after age 50. For instance, 94% of respondents indicated the index individual
engaged in behavior considered to be antisocial, meaning exploitative, abusive, or manipulative,
over the age of 50.
Evidence of Direct Harm to Respondent Caused by Individuals with
ASPD/Psychopathy After Age 50. As is evident in Table 3, respondents’ observations
highlighted the presence of harm caused directly to them by individuals high in
ASPD/psychopathy traits who were over the age of 50. For instance, respondents reported
experiencing significant psychopathology due to their involvement with the individual, as 88%
reported having become anxious or depressed, and 70% reported suffering from PTSD. They
also reported losses in numerous material domains, including financial, as 68% of respondents
reported that they had lost money as a result of their involvement with the individual. Of these
respondents, 27% lost $5,000 USD or less, 14% lost $5,000 to $10,000, 20% lost $10,000 to
$50,000, 13% lost $50,000 to $100,000, 18% $100,000 to $500,000, and a further 9% lost more
than $500,000, per their reports.
Respondent Observations of Antisocial Behavior After Age 50. The majority of
respondents (66%) knew the individual both before and after age 50. They were asked, "Did the
individual 'mellow out' or 'burn out' after age 50? Did the individual engage in less manipulation,
deceit, or antisocial behavior?" In other words, did the respondents see a change in the
individual's engagement in manipulation, deceit, and antisocial behavior after the age of 50
(relative to before age 50). Of these respondents, less than 1% reported that the index individuals
engaged in much less manipulation, deceit, and antisocial behavior; 5% reported they engaged in
somewhat less of this behavior; 36% reported that they engaged in these behaviors to the same
extent; and 57% of respondents reported that the index individual became worse after age 50.
Thus, a total of 93% of respondents reported that the index individual’s behavior was just as bad
or worse after age 50. The "Narrative Descriptions" section that appears at the end of the Results
provides further contextual information.
Quantitative Variable Analyses
Evidence of General Harm Caused by ASPD/Psychopathy After Age 50.
Respondent’s observations clearly indicated that index individuals with ASPD traits caused harm
after age 50. Harmful outcome variables were expressed in Z-score units in order to characterize
the degree of harm for each relationship type on the same metric (i.e. Mean = 0.00 and SD =
1.00). As shown in Table 4, respondents reported different types of harm caused by index
individuals high in ASPD traits based on the type of relationship they had with one another. For
instance, as expected, those in romantic relationships with the index individuals reported higher
levels of negative relationship characteristics, while those who were work associates
predominantly reported both rule-oriented and person-oriented workplace harm.
Similarly, Table 5 illustrates that respondents observed different types of harm caused by
those high in ASPD depending on the reported gender of the index individuals. In particular,
men with ASPD traits were reported to exhibit more harmful negative relationship characteristics
compared to women with ASPD traits, as demonstrated by a large effect size (Cohen’s d = 1.33).
Moreover, men with ASPD were reported to cause more physical and emotional harm to the
respondent, with the difference represented by a medium effect size (Cohen’s d = 0.65). Men
also caused more material and financial harm to the respondent compared to women with ASPD
traits, although the latter difference demonstrated only a weak effect size (Cohen’s d = 0.20). No
significant gender differences were found among other harmful outcome variables.
Using the full sample to get the full range of ASPD trait scores, the DSM-5 AMPD-
ASPD total score demonstrated significant correlations with all six harm variables. The smallest
association was that with child maltreatment, which demonstrated only a small effect size of .22.
Five of the six harm variables demonstrated a medium effect size, specifically negative
relationship characteristics (.30), rule-oriented workplace harm (.31), person-oriented workplace
harm (.31), material and financial harm to respondent (.34), and physical and emotional harm to
respondent (.45). These results indicate a general moderate association between AMPD-ASPD
traits and severity/diversity in harmful behaviors across domains.
Narrative Descriptions
The survey included 18 questions in which respondents were invited to provide narrative
responses, where respondents could add detail. A total of 11,835 narrative responses were
collected. In this section, we present representative anecdotes, along with a qualitative analysis
of one question.
When asked to describe the index individual's antisocial behavior after age 50, one
woman wrote about her ex-husband, "The older he got, the more abusive he became. He lied,
cheated, used, and stole. As he aged, he seemed to care less about hiding his behavior, and he
seemed to openly enjoy being cruel. The 'fix' he got from being abusive became more important
to him than the 'cover-up.'" Another respondent wrote about her mother, "Nothing ever changed.
She exploits, lies, throws tantrums, rages, abandons, pouts, defames, threatens, and would still be
physically violent if she had the physical strength." Another respondent wrote about her former
romantic partner, "He's constantly looking out for the next person to con. It is his life."
Respondents who identified the index individual as a current or former spouse or
romantic partner were asked if their relationship with the individual changed after age 50. Of
those who answered the question (n = 837), 44% said yes and 14% said no, and 42% indicated
that this question did not apply. In terms of how the relationship changed, 387 respondents
provided narrative descriptions. As shown in Table 6, 21% of respondents said they saw a total
personality change—"the mask came off." Respondents also spontaneously mentioned behaviors
that associated with ASPD, such as a lack of empathy, an increase in callous-type behaviors (e.g.
abuse or cruelty), as well as an increase in lies and manipulation. Only 1% indicated that the
relationship became less volatile.
In the survey, 178 participants described their parents. Many themes pertained to
psychological abuse, manipulation, and intimidation. One respondent described her father's
antisocial behavior after age 50 as follows:
He tried to become romantically involved with a woman. When she refused his
advances he stalked her, killed her horse, terrorized her to the point she had to run for her
life, thus losing her house and everything she owned. - Another woman he stalked after
she rejected his advances, and then he sent my brother to rape her one evening, and then
the next week he himself went and raped the woman. She ended up permanently
catatonic in the mental hospital after that. - Another woman - the wife of a man who had
slept with my mother - he set her house on fire one day while she and the woman's 4 year
old daughter were napping upstairs. The woman and child barely escaped with their lives.
They lose all material possessions. - My father came to my job, stuck a gun in my face,
and demanded I tell him where my mother was so he could kill her. (this was several
years after he divorced her). I didn't tell. I almost lost my job after that. Soon after I left
the state.
Most survey respondents described partners or family members, but others described
acquaintances or business associates. In a representative example, one woman wrote about her
Claimed to be handicapped and received government benefits. Never saw an
apparent handicap. She had a wheelchair and when she called 911 to make false reports
that I was harassing her (she was actually harassing me and I simply walked away and
went into my house), she would get in the wheelchair before the police arrived to take her
complaint. She was my next door neighbor from her age 59 to 65. I have about 50 pages
of documentation of her harassment. She had two dogs that barked 60-70 hours a week
under our bedroom and living room windows. When we asked her to curb her dogs, she
grinned and said she couldn't do that and the barking got worse. The dogs would start
barking within a minute of turning out the lights at night. She was watching for our lights
to go out. She was able to manipulate me into getting personal information from me until
I caught on and stopped the flow of info. That's when other harassment started. She tried
to run me down with her car once and convinced a friend of hers to do the same. She
would park in front of our house and photograph us in our house. Her 30-something son
threw a bomb at our house (he never met us). Those are just the highlights. Because of
barking dogs, rarely got enough sleep. Became anxious about leaving the house for a
walk or to garden. Sold our house for $90K less than what we paid for it just to get away
from her. Also, had to install a privacy fence for about $3K. Numerous times had the
police at our home with complaints of domestic violence and that I was harassing her. I
was afraid she was going to kill one of us and the domestic violence calls would make it
look like one of us killed the other.
Another woman described her experience with a business associate, who turned out to be
a classic con man.
He was the ringleader of a significant and complex business fraud, also convicted
of racketeering. He sold people with very slick promises, presented with expensive, high-
status props, implying he was successful, living the high life, and very established. All
lies and deceptive. It took two trials to convict him. He was that good at deception,
obfuscation, and confusion. He also lied on the witness stand testifying at his own trial.
He was charged at 60, finally convicted and sent to prison at age 64. Prior to 60, he
engaged in multiple criminal and fraudulent enterprises with a ring of other like-minded
criminals. I don't know when they started for sure, but we found several that seemed to
span about 8 years total, approximately between his age of 48-56. These included: A
fraudulent medical business when he was 48-51 (approximate timing, before we knew
him); a fraudulent medical business when he was 51-55; an illegal kidney harvesting
business when he was 55-56. There were rumors of other fraudulent businesses, including
a real estate business. I don't know what he did between the kidney business and getting
charged with the fraud. There are 4 missing years there that I do not have information on
and I had no dealings with him during that time.
This survey respondent lost a total of $1.7 million—$1.1 million that she invested in his
business, plus $600,000 in promised returns that never came. (Interested readers will find
additional respondent anecdotes in the Online Supplemental Materials, Section 2.)
The goal of the current investigation was to examine remission in antisocial behavior, or
“burnout,” in individuals over the age of 50 with putative antisocial or psychopathic personality
traits from a victim and other informant report perspective. We generally observed that most
individuals with such traits did not remit in their antisocial conduct; instead, most became worse
after age 50, continuing to cause substantial harm to both their victims and society in general.
We further observed that the form of harmful behaviors was generally linked to the type of
relationship respondents had with the index individuals, which was as expected, and that severity
in antisocial/psychopathic personality traits was associated with greater severity and diversity in
harmful behaviors.
Survey respondents reported high levels of all nine traits of ASPD/psychopathy in the
index individuals, especially callousness, manipulativeness, and deceitfulness (Table 1). Using
an average trait level threshold of 2.0 (Samuel et al., 2013), which is in no way suggested here as
"diagnostic" of ASPD/psychopathy, more than three quarters of index individuals qualified for
high ASPD from the AMPD perspective. The informant reports were internally consistent, and
narrative descriptions added further context to the quantitative responses.
The aggregative AMPD-ASPD score was moderately associated with our quantitative
harm variables. These findings are consistent with previous work that support both self and
informant reports of psychopathic personality traits and associated behaviors. For instance,
Miller et al. (2011) showed that self and informant reports of psychopathy converged at a large
magnitude. Jones and Miller (2012) found that both self-report and informant-report psychopathy
scores both provided valid information regarding the commission of externalizing behaviors,
especially intimate partner violence.
The most striking finding of the current research was that of the survey respondents who
knew the index individuals both before and after age 50, 93% reported that their antisocial
behavior was just as bad, or worse, as they aged. Survey respondents reported that many index
individuals over the age of 50 engaged in behaviors typically described as antisocial, including
violence and substance abuse. When it came to crime over age 50, respondents reported that
some individuals were charged and convicted, but even more "got away with" criminal behavior.
Overall, these findings are inconsistent with any remission of antisocial conduct as psychopathic
individuals age, and more consistent with influential theoretical perspectives that psychopathy is
robustly correlated with such conduct across the lifespan (e.g., DeLisi, 2009).
The typical categories of antisocial behavior did not capture the full extent of the harm
inflicted upon the survey respondents, the most predominant being emotional and psychological
abuse. The index individuals, while over age 50, continued to engage in behavior that caused
extreme harm to others. Furthermore, our findings clearly revealed that the type of relationship
the respondent had with the index individuals, and the gender of the index individual, were
directly linked to harm outcomes experienced. For instance, those in a current or previous
romantic relationship with the index individual were likely to report higher degrees of
dishonesty, inconsistency, insincerity, or superficiality, as well as manipulative or unempathetic
behavior, as did respondents reporting about male index individuals.
Informant reports like the ones reported in this study offer an important diversity of
viewpoints on whether personality pathology tends to improve over time. Cooper et al. (2014)
utilized both self-report and informant-report data in a study of personality disorder traits in older
adults. They found that self-report data were consistent with previous literature, showing that
traits of personality disorder decreased over time, while "normal" traits showed positive aging
affects. However, the informant reports indicated that the index person's traits of disorder
increased, and the normal-range personality "worsened" with age, which our results confirmed.
One possible reason for discrepancies in burnout findings might be that the criteria or
traits used to understand psychopathy or ASPD in older adults are inadequate (e.g., Segal et al.,
1996). In the current study, index individuals, who were all over 50 years old, were rated as
significantly higher on traits that align with the higher order domain of antagonism than the
higher order domain of disinhibition (see Table 1). Indeed, a paired-samples t-test (t = [1211]
24.97, p < .001) showed that the antagonism traits were higher than the disinhibition traits,
indicating that these were likely present to a higher degree.
Segal et al. (1996) suggested that
DSM-IV diagnostic criteria might be inadequate for older individuals, due to the normal changes
of aging, such as decreases in energy, strength, and mobility, along with retirement from the
work force and the loss of social outlets. The apparent decline in prevalence rates for personality
disorders, they wrote, "may not be due to a 'mellowing' or maturation of the individuals, but
rather the inability of the current diagnostic system to identify the age-related manifestations of
Of course, the degree to which this might be a reflection of individuals with psychopathic traits in the community
(who might be less disinhibited relative to their incarcerated counterparts; e.g., Mullins-Sweatt et al., 2010) rather
than a function of age cannot be ruled out, though the AMPD trait ratings were on the same scale and are meant to
be independent of context.
these disorders" (p. 394). Other studies have stated that the presentation of personality disorders
in older adults differs from younger adults (Mattar & Khan, 2017), that a non-trivial number of
personality disorder criteria show measurement bias as a function of age (Balsis et al., 2007), and
that criminal behaviors in which those with ASPD engage might change over time (Goldstein &
Grant, 2009; Van Alphen et al., 2007).
In terms of a more general implication, these types of findings underscore the need to
move away from traditional personality disorder categories and embrace the scientific reality that
personality disorders are determined by multiple trait constellations, including psychopathy
(Sellbom & Drislane, 2020; Wygant et al., 2016). Indeed, these trait domains are highly
predictive of antisocial behavior across measures and contexts (e.g., Vize et al., 2018).
Personality disorder science is slowly pivoting from these disorder categories and embracing a
dimensional trait perspective (Hopwood et al., 2018), which is now used as formal diagnosis in
ICD-11 (WHO, 2018). For the reasons just discussed, an emphasis on antagonism as a domain
for understanding what we refer to as psychopathic personality traits, and a lesser emphasis on
disinhibitory traits that seem to decline with age, might perhaps yield a better understanding of
how such individuals behave in older adulthood.
Strengths of this investigation include the large number of participants from the
community and the large amount of data collected about their lived experiences. The survey
respondents provided a compelling picture of antisocial behavior after the age of 50. These
findings are novel to the literature, as no previous studies have examined the perspective of those
who have lived experience with psychopathy in older individuals, or have provided such detailed
information about the harm they experienced. Our findings emphasize the importance of research
to consider victims’ perspectives in understanding the full societal impact of psychopathic and
antisocial personality traits, which frequently seems confined to criminal justice involvement,
substance misuse, and other forms of overt behavior.
Important limitations must also be acknowledged. One limitation is that this was a
purposive sample of individuals who sought information and support from the Internet, largely
heterosexual women in middle adulthood. Because of the nature of the sample and the sampling
method, these results might not generalize to larger, more diverse, heterogeneous samples, or
reflect the perspectives of those who might be ill-informed about potential resources for victims
of antisocial/psychopathic individuals. The respondents were not clinicians, so their assessments
of the index individuals using the AMPD-ASPD traits may not be accurate, though research has
previously supported the validity of lay person ratings of psychopathy traits (e.g., Miller et al.,
2011). In addition, the current study employed a mono-methodology, in that the same respondent
informed on the AMPD-ASPD traits as well as various experiences and harm outcome variables.
As such, any associations between antisocial/psychopathic traits and reports of lived experience
might be inflated, and the degree to which a negative halo effect might have influenced the
results is unknown. Nevertheless, psychopathy research from the perspective of informants and
victims of this disorder is quite rare, likely owing to methodological limitations, and we believe
that these findings are therefore informative. Finally, our measure of ASPD from the AMPD
perspective was outdated as a previous draft was used, but all seven traits that were retained for
the final DSM-5 AMPD version of ASPD were included here, and we retained the additional
traits because they increment the operationalization of psychopathy in empirical research
(Wygant et al., 2016, 2020). The three traits that make up the “psychopathy specifier” (even if
controversial; e.g., Crego & Widiger, 2014) were not included, which is a limitation. Future
research should replicate these findings preferably in other samples, using multiple informants
and other measurement modalities, including the full range of AMPD traits. Additional research
into how ASPD/psychopathy presents in older adults, and the harm caused by affected
individuals, would benefit the field.
In conclusion, our research showed that putative antisocial individuals, both male and
female, continued abusive behavior after age 50, and their romantic partners, family members,
work associates, and acquaintances suffered. Other researchers have suggested that the DSM
diagnostic criteria do not accurately describe ASPD/psychopathy symptoms and behavior in
older adults, and that the disorder remains, but its presentation changes with age. Our data
support those conclusions.
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Table 1.
Descriptive Analyses of DSM-5 AMPD-ASPD Traits (N = 1,215)
% ≥2
DSM-5 AMPD ASPD Total Score
Table 2.
Descriptive Analyses for Endorsement of Behaviors Associated with ASPD (N = 935).
Percentage of respondents who endorsed
Substance Abuse over 50
Illegal drugs
Prescription drugs
Antisocial behavior over 50
Manipulative over 50
Violent behavior over 50
Abusive over 50
Not applicable
Charged with criminal activity over 50
Convicted of criminal activity over 50
“Got away with” criminal behavior over
Table 3.
Descriptive Analyses for Endorsement of Harm to the Respondent (N = 935).
Did you experience any of the following as a result of the
involvement with this individual while he or she was over the
age of 50?
Percentage of respondents
who endorsed response
Lost your home
Lost your business
You lost your job
You lost money
You incurred debt
You declared bankruptcy
You were physically abused or injured
You became infected with an sexually transmitted disease
The stress of the involvement made you ill
You became anxious or depressed
You suffered post-traumatic stress disorder
Your life was threatened
You considered or attempted suicide
The individual threatened or committed suicide
Pets were injured or killed
If the individual was a romantic partner, he or she cheated on
The individual's sexual demands made you uncomfortable
You found that the individual was secretly into pornography
Lawsuits were filed against you
Criminal charges were filed against you
Table 4.
Differences in Harmful Behavior Exhibited by Index Individuals with ASPD/Psychopathy Traits Based on Relationship Type
Romantic Partner
Family Member
Work Associate
Outcome variable
Negative Relationship
Child Maltreatment
Rule-Oriented Workplace
Workplace Harm
Physical and Emotional
Harm to Respondent
Material and Financial
Harm to Respondent
Table 5.
Gender Differences in Harmful Behavior Exhibited by Index Individuals with
ASPD/Psychopathy Traits
Outcome Variable
T value
Cohen’s d
Negative Relationship Characteristics
Child Maltreatment
Rule-Oriented Workplace Harm
Person-Oriented Workplace Harm
Physical and Emotional Harm to
Material and Financial Harm to
Note. * p < .05, ** p < .001
Table 6.
Themes Identified in Descriptions of Relationship Changes Among Romantic Relationships
After Age 50 (N = 387)
Proportion of
Total personality change, changed after marriage, different person, stopped
pretending, mask off, Jekyll/Hyde
Distant, cold, ignored family, no love, evasive, doesn't come home, separate
Mean, verbal, psychological or emotional abuse, cruel, enjoyed causing pain
Lies, manipulation, gaslighting
Cheating, double life
Anger, aggression, rage, violence, murder threats, physical abuse
Financial abuse, no job, theft, crime, gambling
Blaming, critical, putdowns
Got worse
Controlling, isolation, stalking, silent treatment
Respondent was discarded, devalued, destroyed, disrespected, disregarded
Index person was anxious, depressed, desperate, paranoid, strange, mood
swings, NPD, forgetful, not normal
More self-centered, demanding
Sex issues, hypersexual, pornography
Less sex for respondent
Drugs, alcohol usage
Relationship was miserable, chaos, unhappy, rocky, negative, walking on
eggshells, hot/cold, intense
Index individual was concerned about looks, age, health
Child abuse, abandoned kids, no support, parental alienation
I was used (respondent)
No interests (index individual)
Less volatile
Comfortable, normal
< 1%
None of these themes noted
... To this end, while only two of the papers included in the Special Issue focused on forensic samples (and more specifically on treatment and recidivism; Polaschek et al., 2021;Rojas & Olver, 2021), all 10 papers have nonetheless offered a clear focus on the detrimental impacts that individuals with psychopathic traits can impart within society. Indeed, included manuscripts focused on the impact of psychopathy within romantic relationships (in both middle and older adulthood; Andersen et al., 2022;Forth et al., 2021;Uzieblo et al., 2022), within parent-child dyads (Fanti & Lordos, 2021;Kuay et al., 2021), within the workplace (Kranefeld et al., 2021;Stewart et al., 2021), and within society at large (Jurjako et al., 2021). Across these studies, the significant, detrimental impact that individuals with heightened psychopathic traits impart is highlighted, not only for their victims, but also for their family, friends, and colleagues. ...
... Particularly convincing is that, across the various papers included in the Special Issue, demonstration of these harms spanned different assessment methods (including clinical interviews, self-, and informant-reports), manifested as bi-directional effects in parent/child dyads (e.g., influence of parental psychopathic traits on adolescent children's adjustment, Fanti & Lordos, 2021; influence of child callous-unemotional traits on aggression toward parents, Kuay et al., 2021), and emerged at different stages across the lifespan. This latter point may be particularly noteworthy, as it counters the widespread belief that harms associated with psychopathy decrease with age, and also stresses the importance of age-sensitive assessment of psychopathic traits (e.g., Andersen et al., 2022). These findings also support Lilienfeld et al., (2019) contention that what most specifically makes psychopathy a form of psychopathology is the degree to which it impacts the social adaptability of both self and others (see also Jurjako et al., 2021). ...
Full-text available
We are grateful for the opportunity to serve as Guest Editors of this Special Issue on “The impact of psychopathy: Multidisciplinary and applied perspectives.” Psychopathy is a serious public health concern that has long attracted scholarly and clinical interest in both mental health and criminal justice fields. However, given its robust link with criminal behavior, research on psychopathy has largely developed with a primary emphasis on (male) adults within correctional settings. While the preponderance of work remains focused on these adult offenders, research on psychopathy has expanded in recent decades to include studies within a variety of more diverse populations and contexts. The goal of this Special Issue has been to highlight some of the most recent research in these areas, toward a more deliberate emphasis on the broad impacts that psychopathy can impart across all walks of life. To this end, while only two of the papers included in the Special Issue focused on forensic samples (and more specifically on treatment and recidivism), all 10 papers have nonetheless offered a clear focus on the detrimental impacts that individuals with psychopathic traits can impart within society. Indeed, included manuscripts focused on the impact of psychopathy within romantic relationships (in both middle and older adulthood), within parent-child dyads, within the workplace, and within society at large. Across these studies, the significant, detrimental impact that individuals with heightened psychopathic traits impart is highlighted, not only for their victims, but also for their family, friends, and colleagues. In this Editorial, we would like to emphasize some main themes that emerged from their contributions.
... In the case of psychopathic traits, there are no consistent results in the scientific literature. Some studies find that psychopathic traits remain stable throughout the lifespan in community populations (Andersen et al., 2022). However, with delinquent populations, the trend seems to be that these traits attenuate and decrease over time (Skodol et al., 2019), especially those related to secondary psychopathy and antisocial behavior (Harpur & Hare, 1994;Huchzermeier et al., 2008). ...
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Psychopathy has been widely studied among criminal populations. Most analyses address it in institutionalized populations, however, the present study examines the psychometric properties of the Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale (LSRP) in 642 court-referred partner-violent men serving suspended prison sentences. The confirmatory factor analysis confirmed the two-factor structure (primary and secondary psychopathy) of the original scale. The resulting scale was a brief-form version of the LSRP that presents satisfactory data in terms of internal consistency and criterion validity, and significant positive correlations with measures of intimate partner violence (IPV), antisocial personality traits and impulsivity. In terms of known-groups validity, meanwhile, psychopathy was found to decrease with the age of the participants. In this light, the LSRP brief-form offers adequate psychometric reliability as an instrument to measure primary and secondary psychopathy in partnerviolent men serving suspended sentences.
... According to these data, the prevalence of ASD is increasing, and the latest report published on 27 April 2018 indicated that the overall prevalence across 11 locations in the United States was 1 in 59 (approximately 1.68%). The CDC estimates that ASD is four times more likely to occur in males than in females [4,6]. Furthermore, most children with autism need lifelong care, and the lifetime expenditure for an individual with ASD with no intellectual disabilities is about USD 2 million to 2.4 million in the United States [7]. ...
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Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a heterogeneous disorder that affects several behavioral domains of neurodevelopment. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a new method that modulates motor and cognitive function and may have potential applications in ASD treatment. To identify its potential effects on ASD, differences in electroencephalogram (EEG) microstates were compared between children with typical development (n = 26) and those with ASD (n = 26). Furthermore, children with ASD were divided into a tDCS (experimental) and sham stimulation (control) group, and EEG microstates and Autism Behavior Checklist (ABC) scores before and after tDCS were compared. Microstates A, B, and D differed significantly between children with TD and those with ASD. In the experimental group, the scores of microstates A and C and ABC before tDCS differed from those after tDCS. Conversely, in the control group, neither the EEG microstates nor the ABC scores before the treatment period (sham stimulation) differed from those after the treatment period. This study indicates that tDCS may become a viable treatment for ASD.
... Perhaps not, as the psychopath is exploiting others materially and otherwise unlikely to feel guilt for one's exploitive actions. Such a lifestyle is, however, intrinsically at odds with the broader social order and leaves a trail of loss and consequences in its wake (Andersen et al., 2022). ...
Everyday evil is seen in a broad range of scenarios of intended behaviors that are often not violations of criminal law, but nevertheless cause significant and enduring personal and emotional harm. For this reason, the manifestations of everyday evil have pressing psychiatric import. Here, we propose the Welner Inventory of Everyday Extreme and Outrageous (WIEEO) for use as a screening inventory in clinical settings. The WIEEO contains 14 items within four categories: Physical and Emotional Damage, Exploitation, Extending Damage, and Extinguishing Goodness. Five items of “Physical and Emotional Damage” account for enduring life impact from said damage, and material effects that amplify emotional impact as well. Three items of “Exploitation” highlight the significance of not merely the actor's exploitation itself, but also the defenseless vulnerability of the victim. Four items that comprise the “Extending Suffering” category lengthen the impact, involve unusual dimensions, reflect creative social deviance in intent, or extend to additional parties. The two items of “Extinguishing Goodness” focus on the impact of decaying the otherwise prosocial or benevolent character of another and spawning everyday outrageousness in someone who would not have otherwise acted as such. These items have assumed relevance to the WIEEO through research and clinical settings that reveal their significant impact and psychological morbidity. The WIEEO serves as a marker for behaviors that warrant closer clinical attention to intervene, treat and detoxify such situations and the motivations of such malignant behavior before it further traumatizes or damages others.
The aim of the current study was to further examine the psychometric properties of the Expanded Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale (E-LSRP; Christian & Sellbom, 2016). Specifically, its reliability, internal structure, and convergent and discriminant validity were evaluated using university ( N = 367) and community samples ( N = 205) from Aotearoa New Zealand. The results provided support for the reliability and validity of the E-LSRP in both samples. More specifically, the internal consistency estimates of the E-LSRP were above the meaningful threshold, indicating good reliability. Furthermore, using confirmatory factor analysis, the hypothesized three-factor structure was supported and conceptually consistent with Cooke and Michie’s (2001) Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) three-factor model. Lastly, the results generally provided support for the convergent and discriminant validity of the E-LSRP subscales; the E-LSRP Egocentricity was associated with criteria relevant to interpersonal impairment, the Callous scale with criteria relevant to the affective psychopathy domain, and the Antisocial scale with criteria representing behavioral dysfunction. Overall, the E-LSRP is a promising tool for assessing psychopathy in nonincarcerated populations.
Survivors of psychopathic abusers are a valuable resource for understanding the manifestation of psychopathic traits during romantic relationships. However, their perspectives have been largely under-investigated. Self-identified psychopath survivors (N = 475) were recruited from the community and assessed for domestic abuse experiences and the extent their abuser exhibited psychopathic traits. Linear and multiple regression analysis revealed that abusers' psychopathic traits were predictive of domestic abuse that was frequent, versatile, and physically harmful. Factor 1 traits, particularly those under the affective facet, were predictive of a longer-term abusive relationship and versatile forms of abuse. Whereas traits under Factor 1 and Factor 2 were predictive of abuse frequency, only Factor 2 traits were predictive of the degree of physical injury sustained from the abuse (particularly those under the antisocial facet). Discussion of the findings center on the value of survivors' accounts in identifying psychopathic traits that are most salient in the context of domestic abuse. The findings parallel research that finds the emotional disconnection and predatory nature facilitated by Factor 1 traits underlie abusers' ability to effectively maintain their partner's relational commitment, while perpetrating frequent and versatile forms of abuse uninhibited by emotional lability and moral emotions.
A longstanding concern regarding the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) has been its poor coverage of the construct of psychopathy. The most recent edition, the DSM‐5, has proposed an alternative model of personality disorders (AMPD) in Section III of the manual to rectify some of these concerns by offering a trait‐based model comprised of seven personality traits and a psychopathy specifier containing three additional traits. The current study sought to replicate and expand on previous findings that the AMPD operationalization of ASPD was more closely aligned with various measures of psychopathy than the traditional DSM‐5 Section II ASPD diagnosis. The current study examined 200 incarcerated female offenders, who completed a measure of the AMPD, traditional ASPD and two models of psychopathy. Analysis showed that Section III ASPD outperformed Section II ASPD in predicting scores on various measures of psychopathy. These findings are consistent with the previous findings that did not examine incarcerated female offenders and suggest that the AMPD operationalization of ASPD is more aligned with psychopathy than its Section II counterpart. © 2020 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
The current article reviews the literature regarding several issues that are relevant to the classification of psychopathy. We make the argument based on the available literature that psychopathy cannot be easily categorized in a qualitative manner but rather is a dimensional construct. We also make the claim that psychopathy is not unitary. Indeed, virtually all available research points to psychopathy being multidimensional and therefore gives rise to the potential of multiple constellations of traits (i.e., subtypes or variants) that fall under the broader umbrella term of psychopathy. We review the literature on subtypes of psychopathy, which is in our opinion the best perspective from which to consider psychopathy classification, with the caveat that such constellations or ‘psychopathy variants’ are also dimensional in nature and would vary in severity. We also added an empirical contribution in which we replicate and expand upon the existing psychopathy subtype literature in a novel way. We end our article with general implications and discussion of future directions in this area.
Studies on criminal behaviors largely focus on youth and younger adults. While criminal engagement declines with age, the aging population and significant costs associated with older offenders warrant their increased clinical and research attention. The present study utilizes data from the 2002 to 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health to estimate the prevalence and explore the sociodemographic and psychosocial correlates of criminal behavior in adults aged 50 years and older. The overall prevalence of older adults engaging in criminal behaviors during this time was approximately 1.20%. There was no significant difference in crime involvement between adults aged 50 to 64 years and 65 years and older. Older individuals who committed crimes were more likely to be male and Black and earning low income. Criminality was also associated with use of illicit substances and depression as well as receipt of mental health treatment.
Research examining the relation between personality and antisocial and aggressive behaviors has shown that traits related to antagonism and disinhibition are the most important correlates of such behaviors. However, much of this research has focused on personality at a higher-order level, such as the domain level within the Five Factor Model (FFM). The present meta-analysis specifically focused on the lower-order facet scales of the FFM (as measured by the NEO-PI-R and IPIP-NEO) which have been shown to add important predictive utility above the domains. Expanding on previous work, the current study examined the relations between the FFM facets and a variety of antisocial behaviors including physical aggression, relational aggression, reactive aggression, proactive aggression, and non-violent antisocial behavior. Meta-analytic results show that a subset of FFM facets, primarily those related to antagonistic and disinhibited behavior, showed the most consistent relations with antisocial behaviors. However, effect size magnitudes were influenced by what type of antisocial behavior was examined. The results are discussed within the broader context of research on personality and antisocial behavior, etiological models of aggressive behavior, and the degree to which the results match the trait profiles of constructs with robust links to antisocial behavior (i.e., psychopathy).
Personality disorder traits can be quite problematic in older adult patients and the effects of these traits can sometimes present as risks that the professionals working in this field must be confident in managing. It is therefore crucial that information around the presentation and management of these disorders in the older adult psychiatry patient cohort is available. Here, the authors summarise current knowledge regarding the assessment and management of personality disorders in the older adult population, based on a literature search.
For decades, it has been known that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) diagnosis of Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) is a nonadequate operationalization of psychopathy (Crego & Widiger, 2015). The DSM-5 alternative model of personality disorders provides an opportunity to rectify some of these long held concerns. The current study compared the Section III alternative model's trait-based conception of ASPD with the categorical model from the main diagnostic codes section of DSM-5 in terms of associations with differing models of psychopathy. We also evaluated the validity of the trait-based conception more broadly in relation to measures of antisocial tendencies as well as psychopathy. Participants were 200 male inmates who were administered a battery of self-report and interview-based researcher rating measures of relevant constructs. Analyses showed that Section III ASPD outperformed Section II ASPD in predicting scores on Hare's (2003) Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R; r = .88 vs. .59). Additionally, aggregate scores for Section III ASPD performed well in capturing variance in differing ASPD and psychopathy measures. Finally, we found that the Section III ASPD impairment criteria added incrementally to the Section III ASPD traits in predicting PCL-R psychopathy and SCID-II ASPD. (PsycINFO Database Record