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NCJ Number: 222311 Find in a Library
Title: Were Wolfgang's Chronic Offenders Psychopaths?: On the Convergent Validity Between Psychopaths and Career Criminality
Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:36  Issue:1  Dated:March/April 2008  Pages:33-42
Author(s): Michael G. Vaughn; Matt DeLisi
Date Published: March 2008
Page Count: 10
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute on Drug Abuse
Bethesda, MD 20892-9561
Grant Number: 1 RO3 DA015556-01
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined the predictive validity between psychopathy and career criminality.
Abstract: Findings indicated that offenders who presented with psychopathic characteristics were much more likely than offenders without psychopathic traits to be classified as career criminals. Immediate implications are that incarcerated delinquents who are noted for their compulsive decisionmaking, lack of fear, self-centeredness, callous and unemotional affect, or some combination of these traits are the group most at risk for continued antisocial behavior presumably while in custody and upon release into the community. Based on the standardized regression coefficients, impulsivity and emotionality appear to be the strongest personality factors linked to career criminality. If youths are intent on meeting their selfish needs regardless of how their behavior affects other people, if youths are unfazed by dangerous and risky situations, and if youths have little concern with inflicting harm on others because they lack empathy, then psychopathic traits have considerable utility in explaining why some offenders recurrently violate the law. Criminal career research is largely the domain of criminologists trained as sociologists whereas psychopathy research is largely the domain of psychologists and psychiatrists. To understand more extreme forms of criminal behavior degrees of criminality, the construct of psychopathy is quite valuable. The sample represented a cross-section (n=723) of the population of residents (n=740) of the Missouri division of youth services at the time the study was undertaken. Tables, figures, and references
Main Term(s): Behavior typologies; Criminality prediction; Psychopaths; Youthful offenders
Index Term(s): Antisocial attitudes; Behavior patterns; Behavioral science research; Individual behavior; Missouri; Problem behavior; Psychological evaluation; Risk taking behavior
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