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NCJ Number: 99575 Find in a Library
Title: Assumption that Crime Is a Product of Individual Characteristics - A Prime Example from Psychiatry (From Theoretical Methods in Criminology, P 197-221, 1985, Robert F Meier, ed. - See NCJ-99570)
Author(s): M Hakeem
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 25
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Sale Source: Sage Publications, Inc
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter describes the chaos surrounding the diagnosis, etiology, and treatment of psychopathy, the primary mental disorder attributed to criminals.
Abstract: The latest revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (1980) indicates that 'psychopathic personality' is a term for antisocial traits and behaviors objectionable to the psychiatrist and others. Attempts by various behavioral scientists to demonstrate a consensus on the objective, scientific symptoms of psychopathy have failed. Descriptions of the symptoms of psychopathy offered by various psychiatrists are variable lists of personality traits and behaviors which a particular psychiatrist finds extremely objectionable. Further, behavioral scientists have no united approach for working described symptoms into a diagnosis of psychopathy. Described symptoms are generally so multitudinous and extreme that no real person could manifest them under an objective diagnosis. Apparently, psychopathy is but a medical term for obnoxious personal behavior. The causes of psychopathy cited by psychiatrists also lack consistency. Although it has been attributed to environmental and biological factors, there is disagreement on the specific factors involved. Views on the treatment of psychopathy range from total pessimism to optimism and from psychotherapy to brain surgery. Prodigious amounts of drugs have been prescribed, but there is disagreement as to which drugs should be used and their efficacy. Overall, the prospects for obtaining a psychiatric theory of criminal behavior that meets the minimal requirments for scientific recognition are unpromising. Fifty-eight references are listed.
Index Term(s): Psychological evaluation; Psychological influences on crime; Psychological theories; Psychopaths
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