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Personality traits and psychopathy (PCL-R) in male juvenile delinquents
2002 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

 Abstract

 

State-administered correctional institutions in Sweden take care of approximately 600 juvenile delinquents every year. The treatment for these institutionalized young people is based mainly on environmental programs and milieu therapy.

Fifty-six conduct-disordered juvenile delinquents (mean age 17 years) from four institutions were studied with respect to their personality traits, and the prevalence of psychopathy (measured by the Hare Psychopathy Checklist – Revised, PCL-R). One objective was to study the reliability and validity of commonly used personality inventories. In particular, the validity of psychopathy-related personality traits, included in Schalling’s psychopathy model (1978), was examined by studying the relationships between personality traits and psychopathy (PCL-R), the occurrence of previous treatment occasions, and relapse into crime. Four groups, the delinquent participants, a group of high sensation-seekers (air force pilot recruits), normal male adolescent participants, and another group of normal young males, completed a number of personality inventories, which enabled us to obtain measures of personality traits. The personality inventories used were the Karolinska Scales of Personality (KSP), the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire, and the Zuckerman Sensation-Seeking Scales. In addition, the delinquent participants were rated on psychopathy according to the modified version of the PCL-R, designed to be used with young people (Fort, Hart, & Hare, 1990). Both variable-oriented (factor analysis, MANOVA) and person-oriented statistical methods (cluster analysis) were applied.

As expected, most personality traits in the delinquent participants deviated from published norms and from our control groups. The delinquent participants showed a high level of pathology or vulnerability for developing mental disorders (such as substance abuse). About 60% of the delinquent participants had scores above 30 on the PCL-R, and were thus classified as psychopaths according to the manual. Further, 73% had scores between 27 and 40, indicating a high level of psychopathy. Delinquent participants showed a different pattern of sensation-seeking behavior than air force pilot recruits and normal adolescent participants, and differed also in other personality traits. They had a low level of socialization, indicating a lack of ability to take the role of the generalized other, and a tendency to impulsiveness, somatic anxiety and extraversion-sociability. The construct validity (convergent and divergent) of the KSP scales was found to be adequate. Some of the personality traits in delinquent participants, however, showed a different correlation pattern than that found in noncriminal people. Some of the basic scales from the KSP had high reliability, but many were not reliable when used on delinquent participants. Four factors were extracted using the maximum likelihood method. No significant correlations were found between the personality scale scores and the PCL-R scores. Finally, cluster analysis of the reliable and valid psychopathy-related personality scales from the KSP (Impulsiveness, Monotony avoidance, Socialization, Verbal aggression, and Somatic anxiety) identified seven different clusters of delinquent participants.

The uncertain validity of some personality traits (e.g., psychoticism or detachment), the poor reliability of many of the KSP scales (e.g., Guilt, Suspicion, and Inhibition of aggression) when used on this population, together with some minor limitations of the studies (e.g., sample size) are discussed.

In conclusion, the high prevalence of psychopathy in the present sample of male delinquent participants may have important clinical treatment implications, particularly since some researchers have suggested that milieu therapy increases relapse rates into crime in adult psychopaths. Hopefully, appropriate assessment of personality traits and psychopathy (in addition to obvious routine assessments of mental disorders, such as substance abuse or disabilities such as dyslexia), supervision, and the implementation of effective correctional programs, may prevent young people with deviant personalities from aggravating their deviant style of living.

 

Key words: Personality traits, psychopathy (PCL-R), juvenile delinquents, reliability, validity, assessment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Stockholm University, 2002. , p. 252
Keywords [en]
Personality traits, psychopathy (PCL-R), juvenile delinquents, reliability, validity, assessment
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
SOCIAL SCIENCE, Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-5359ISBN: 91-7265-396-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hv-5359DiVA, id: diva2:623866
Public defence
2002-01-25, Frescati, Hagväg 8, Stockholm, 08:54
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-05-29 Created: 2013-05-29 Last updated: 2023-04-05Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Differences between severely conduct-disordered juvenile males and normal juvenile males: the study of personality traits
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Differences between severely conduct-disordered juvenile males and normal juvenile males: the study of personality traits
1999 (English)In: Personality and Individual Differences, ISSN 0191-8869, E-ISSN 1873-3549, Vol. 26, no 5, p. 827-845Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Personality traits among a group of 47 severely conduct-disordered (C-D) juvenile males from four Swedish national correctional institutions for serious offences were studied. The Karolinska Scales of Personality (KSP), the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ-I), including an impulsivity scale from the Impulsiveness-Venturesomeness-Empathy (IVE) inventory, and the Zuckerman Sensation-Seeking Scales (SSS) form V, were administered to the C-D juveniles. The scores from the KSP for this group were compared to scores from a presentative group of 82 normal juvenile male subjects from the Swedish longitudinal research program Individual Development and Adaptation (IDA). Pearson product-moment correlations were calculated between the KSP scales and scales from the EPQ-I, and between the SSS and scales from the EPQ-I and KSP inventories. The C-D juveniles displayed notably higher scores than the mean normal scores on psychopathy-related personality scales. The present results are consistent with earlier findings concerning personality dimensions in adult criminal psychopaths: high scores on impulsivity and sensation seeking, and low scores on conformity reflected in low socialization and high psychoticism.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Amsterdam: Elsevier, 1999
Keywords
Conduct-disordered juvenile delinquents; IDA study; Psychopathy; Sensation-seeking; Non-conformity
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject
SOCIAL SCIENCE, Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-4979 (URN)10.1016/S0191-8869(98)00186-X (DOI)
Projects
“Dr. Jekyll och Mr. Hyde beteende” bland manliga kriminella ungdomar i samband med alkohol kombinerad med bensodiazepiner: Biologiska och psykologiska indikatorer
Note

Ingår i doktorsavhandlingen "Personality traits and psychopathy (PCL-R) in male juvenile delinquents", Stockholm universitet, 2002

Available from: 2012-12-30 Created: 2012-12-30 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
2. Different Personality Patterns in Non-Socialized (Juvenile Delinquents) and Socialized (Air Force Pilot Recruits) Sensation Seekers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Different Personality Patterns in Non-Socialized (Juvenile Delinquents) and Socialized (Air Force Pilot Recruits) Sensation Seekers
2001 (English)In: European Journal of Personality, ISSN 0890-2070, E-ISSN 1099-0984, Vol. 15, p. 239-252Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Young delinquents are known to be sensation seekers. Not all sensation seekers become delinquents: many engage in socially accepted activities, such as mountaineering or parachute jumping. The present study compares 47 juvenile delinquents (mean age 17 years) with 18 Swedish air force pilot recruits (mean age 23 years) and 19 conscripts (mean age 18 years) as a control group. Sensation-seeking behaviour, impulsiveness, and psychiatric/psychological vulnerability were measured by the Zuckerman Sensation-Seeking Scales (SSS), the Karolinska Scales of Personality, and the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire. Two separate multivariate analyses of variance were performed, followed up by stepdown analyses to identify those personality scale scores that contributed uniquely. In order to clarify the relationships, the pooled within-group correlations among scales were computed. Juvenile delinquents and pilot recruits were both high in sensation seeking, but on different subscales. Delinquents were high in impulsiveness, somatic anxiety, and extraversion–sociability, and low in socialization, suggesting psychiatric/psychological vulnerability. The findings may have implications for the treatment of juvenile delinquents. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

Keywords
Neuroscience, Neurovetenskap
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
SOCIAL SCIENCE, Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-5334 (URN)10.1002/per.407 (DOI)
Note

.

Available from: 2013-05-17 Created: 2013-05-17 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved

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