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Developmental Antecedents of the Facets of Psychopathy: The Role of Multiple Abuse Experiences

NCJ Number
Journal of Personality Disorders Volume: 30 Issue: 5 Dated: 2016 Pages: 677-693
Sonja Krstic; Raymond A. Knight; Carrie A. Robertson
Date Published
17 pages
Since the etiology of psychopathy remains poorly understood, despite the wealth of studies focused on examining this serious and complex personality disorder, this article reports on a study that examined the contribution of psychological, physical, and sexual abuse in predicting PCL-R facet and total scores.
The study was conducted on a sample of 397 adult male sexual offenders, using archival ratings and developmental data obtained with a self-report inventory, the Multidimensional Assessment of Sex and Aggression (the MASA). The study found that all types of abuse covaried with the total PCL-R score, but the kinds of abuse were differentially associated with the facet scores. Sexual abuse was positively associated with Interpersonal and Lifestyle facet scores; whereas, physical abuse was associated with Lifestyle and Antisocial facets. Psychological abuse covaried with the Affective facet, but the relation was negative. The results of the structural equation model underscored the significance of physical abuse, above and beyond psychological and sexual abuse. (Publisher abstract modified)