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NCJ Number: 218736 Find in a Library
Title: Instrumentally Violent Youths: The Roles of Psychopathic Traits, Empathy, and Attachment
Journal: Criminal Justice and Behavior: An International Journal  Volume:34  Issue:6  Dated:June 2007  Pages:739-751
Author(s): Jillian I. Flight; Adelle E. Forth
Date Published: June 2007
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: Carleton University
Ottawa, Ontario K1S 56B, Canada
Grant Number: GR-6
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study explored the relationships among psychopathic traits, empathy, attachment, and motivations for violence among incarcerated adolescent offenders.
Abstract: Results indicated significant differences in the psychopathy scores for youth who never engaged in instrumental violence, youths who were instrumentally violent once or twice, and youths who were frequently instrumentally violent. The findings are consistent with Meloy’s (2006) theory that psychopaths’ predisposition to engage in instrumental violence could be due to their low levels of autonomic arousal, their emotional detachment, and their lack of empathy. The findings here indicated that the interpersonal and affective features of psychopathy and not the behavioral and antisocial features were what contributed to an increased likelihood to use instrumental violence. Results were mixed in regards to the relationship between psychopathic traits and parental attachment. The findings did suggest, however, that low attachment to a father figure for male youths might be related to higher ratings on psychopathy. Future research should focus on the relationships between attachment and instrumental violence in psychopathic youth. Participants were 51 male adolescents incarcerated in 1 of 3 institutions in Canada. Participants were interviewed and also completed a series of four self-report questionnaires. Main variables under analysis included psychopathy, empathy, perceptions of positive or negative relationships, impression management and self-deception enhancement, and motivations for violence. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). Tables, references
Main Term(s): Psychopaths; Violent juvenile offenders
Index Term(s): Canada; Parental influence
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