Validating female psychopathy subtypes: Differences in personality, antisocial and violent behavior, substance abuse, trauma, and mental health

Brian M. Hicks, Uma Vaidyanathan, Christopher J. Patrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent empirical investigations utilizing male prisoners have begun to validate clinical conceptualizations of primary and secondary psychopathy subtypes. We extended this literature by identifying similar psychopathic subtypes in female prisoners on the basis of personality structure using model-based cluster analysis. Secondary psychopaths (n = 39) were characterized by personality traits of negative emotionality and low behavioral constraint, an early onset of antisocial and criminal behavior, greater substance use and abuse, more violent behavior and institutional misconduct, and more mental health problems, including symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder and suicide attempts. Primary psychopaths (n = 31) exhibited few distinguishing personality features but were prolific criminals especially in regards to nonviolent crime, and exhibited relatively few mental health problems despite substantial exposure to traumatic events. The results support alternative etiological pathways to antisocial and criminal behavior that are evident in personality structure as well as gender similarities and differences in the manifestation of psychopathic personalities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-57
Number of pages20
JournalPersonality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment
Volume1
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010

Keywords

  • Antisocial behavior
  • Female prisoners
  • Female psychopathy
  • Psychopathy subtypes

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Validating female psychopathy subtypes: Differences in personality, antisocial and violent behavior, substance abuse, trauma, and mental health'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this