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Criminology Personality and Trait Theories of Crime
by
John Paul Wright, Kristan Moore

Introduction

Personality reflects the totality of a human being’s beliefs, attitudes, behaviors, and ways of interacting with the social world (see Walsh and Ellis 2007 under Introductory Works). Personality is the sum total of all human characteristics that make the individual unique among individuals. Human personality is composed of an array of traits, or discrete human characteristics. These traits can vary across human beings and will coalesce within some humans to form recognizable behavioral and cognitive orientations or patterns. These orientations, what we call “personality,” can be highly stable over time. Owing to the overlap between traits and the broader constellation of personality, it is sometimes difficult to clearly identify a criminological theory as either a trait or personality theory. Because of this, trait and personality perspectives have been brought under an even larger theoretical umbrella of individual differences. Human beings vary on almost every measureable characteristic. Some individuals seek out and engage in risky behaviors, while others are shy and withdrawn; some are caring and nurturing, while others are hostile and aggressive.

Introductory Works

Scholars have realized that some, but not all, individual differences are overrepresented in criminal populations (Andrews and Bonta 2010). For example, individuals who are impulsive, daring, and aggressive are found more frequently in criminal populations than are individuals who delay gratification, are cautious, and are sensitive to the needs and wants of others (Walsh and Ellis 2007).

  • Andrews, Don A., and James Bonta. 2010. Antisocial personality pattern. In The psychology of criminal conduct. By Don A. Andrews and James Bonta, 193–223. New Providence, NJ: Matthew Bender.

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    Covers both personality models as well as a number of the American Psychological Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual’s (DSM’s) criteria for Personality Disorders related to criminal behavior. Best for those readers who already have an understanding of psychology.

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  • Walsh, Anthony, and Lee Ellis. 2007. Psychosocial theories: Individual traits and criminal behavior. In Criminology: An interdisciplinary approach. By Anthony Walsh and Lee Ellis, 169–198. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

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    An introductory text that provides a thorough overview of the psychology of crime. In addition to covering material relating to personality and temperament, also discusses the role of intelligence and biology. Ideal for both undergraduate and graduate students, regardless of their current level of knowledge of the material.

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Models of Personality

Models of personality abound in the field of psychology. Each theory presents a number of “facets” that are organized into factors through the use of statistical analysis (specifically, factor analysis). Each factor is a specific domain of personality and an individual falls somewhere along these continuums. There is some debate regarding the focus on higher-order factors. Some scholars argue that a more detailed description of personality at the facet level is needed, while others argue that the greater domains are sufficient to explain individual differences. Five personality models are used most often with crime, aggression, and violence as outcome measures. Eysenck’s P-E-N Model, Costa and McCrae’s Five-Factor Model (FFM), and Tellegen’s Three-Factor Model are all theories of normal personality and were not specifically designed to explain criminal behavior. Under these models, crime is understood to be the result of individuals falling to extremes on one or more of the personality factors. The remaining two personality models, Yochelson and Samenow’s Criminal Personality and Megargee’s Overcontrolled/Undercontrolled Personality, were developed specifically to explain those individuals who engage in criminal activity.

Eysenck’s P-E-N Model

Eysenck first proposed a two-factor model of personality in his book Dimensions of Personality (1947) and applied it to criminal behavior in Crime and Personality (Eysenck 1964). The original dimensions in his theory were neuroticism (N) and extraversion (E). A third dimension of personality, psychoticism (P), was added in a later work published in 1976. Crime, according to Eysenck, is the result of a failure to condition the child to control his impulses, either through faulty parenting or because of an “innate weakness in the person” (Eysenck 1970, p. 226). Individuals who score high on extraversion, neuroticism, or psychoticism, he maintains, do not condition well and thus commit more crime in adulthood. Buikhuisen and Hemmel 1972 tested this assertion and found that delinquent youth conditioned as well as nondelinquent youth. Other empirical evaluations of this hypothesis have had mixed findings. Eysenck 1970 found psychoticism to be strongly predictive of crime, neuroticism to be moderately predictive, and extraversion to have only a weak relationship to crime. Other works have questioned the predictive validity of Eysenck’s theory, finding no to weak relationships between this formulation of personality and criminal behavior (Hindelang 1971; Van Dam, et al. 2007). Additional critiques of Eysenck’s work have failed to find statistical relationships between behavior and personality factors (Knust and Stewart 2002) as well as contesting that broad personality factors are capable of adequately predicting crime and delinquency (Levine and Jackson 2004). Eysenck’s work has continuously incorporated research in biology in his developing model, including genetics and twin studies, thus providing a strong empirical foundation for understanding the human personality. From this theory, a number of assessment instruments have been developed. One of these instruments, the Eysenck Personality Profiler, measures twenty-one facets and also includes a lie scale to assess the truthfulness of the respondent’s answers (see Furnham, et al. 2008 for a more thorough overview).

  • Buikhuisen, Wouter, and Jan J. Hemmel. 1972. Crime and conditioning. British Journal of Criminology 12:147–157.

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    Tests Eysenck’s assertion that individuals vary in conditionability based on personality. The article failed to provide support that delinquents do not condition as well as nondelinquents.

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  • Eysenck, Hans J. 1964. Crime and personality. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

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    Excellent book applying Eysenck’s model of personality to criminal behavior, as well as the process of developing an assessment instrument and the concerns that much be taken into consideration during development. Proposes a general model of criminal behavior that incorporates both the biological causes of crime and the conditioning of children by parents.

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  • Eysenck, Hans J. 1970. Crime and personality: An empirical study of the three-factor theory. British Journal of Criminology 10:225–239.

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    A brief summary of Eysenck’s theory of criminal behavior, as well as a statistical test of the theory. Using a sample of English prisoners and three control samples of normal individuals, Eysenck found much higher levels of psychoticism, moderately higher levels of neuroticism, and only slightly higher levels of extraversion in the prisoner sample.

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  • Furnham, Adrian, Sybil B. G. Eysenck, and Donald H. Saklofske. 2008. The Eysenck personality measures: Fifty years of scale development. In The SAGE handbook of personality theory and assessment. Vol. 2, Personality measurement and testing. Edited by Gregory J. Boyle, Gerald Matthews, and Donald H. Saklofske, 199–218. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

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    This is a very good overview of Eysenck’s theory, including the processes through which the theory was developed. Written in clear and concise language but requiring some knowledge of statistical techniques, this chapter is suitable for advanced undergraduate students to read.

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  • Hindelang, Michael J. 1971. Extraversion, neuroticism, and self-reported delinquent involvement. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 8:23–31.

    DOI: 10.1177/002242787100800103Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critiques Eysenck’s theory positing a linear relationship between neuroticism and crime. Provides a detailed analysis of potential methodological failures in the existing research.

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  • Knust, Sonja, and Anna L. Stewart. 2002. Risk-taking behavior and criminal offending: An investigation of sensation seeking and the Eysenck personality questionnaire. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology 45:586–602.

    DOI: 10.1177/030662402236742Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Found that Impulsivity and sensation seeking are related to psychoticism, challenging an early assertion of Eysenck that such facets of personality are related to extraversion. Proposed that such behaviors should fall into the domain of psychoticism and that neuroticism and extraversion are not wholly distinct factors.

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  • Levine, Stephen Z., and Chris J. Jackson. 2004. Eysenck’s theory of crime revisited: Factors or primary scales? Legal and Criminological Psychology 9:135–152.

    DOI: 10.1348/135532504322776906Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Contests Eysenck’s assertion that large factors are capable of adequately explaining delinquency. Found that only some of the facets of each of the three domains were related to delinquency, particularly higher levels of depression, need for stimulation, disrespect for rules, and Impulsivity.

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  • Van Dam, Coleta, Eric E. J. De Bruyn, and Jan M. A. M. Janssens. 2007. Personality, delinquency, and criminal recidivism. Adolescence 42:763–777.

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    Provides a detailed discussion of the combinations of Eysenck’s three domains that are hypothesized to lead to criminal behavior. Tests these combinations and finds support for only one of two possible combinations as it related to the outcome of recidivism.

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Costa and Mccrae’s Five-Factor Model (FFM)

Costa and McCrae’s five-factor model (FFM) is one of the most widely recognized models of personality in the field of psychology. Multiple theorists have developed their own interpretations of the five-factor model of personality, but this section will specifically focus on that by Costa and McCrae. The five factors are neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness, openness to experience, and conscientiousness. Each of the factors is composed of six facets (Samuels, et al. 2004). Initially, Costa and McCrae built on the two-factor model of personality originally proposed by Hans Eysenck by adding an additional factor, openness to experience, to neuroticism and extraversion. Later examinations of data led Costa and McCrae to add the additional dimensions of agreeableness and conscientiousness to their model. With all five dimensions in mind, Costa and McCrae developed the revised NEO personality inventory (NEO-PI-R) instrument to assess an individual’s personality (Costa and McCrae 2008). Empirical tests of the five-factor model have found significant relationships to crime and delinquency (Samuels, et al. 2004; Le Corff and Toupin 2009; Ireland and Ireland 2011).

  • Costa, Paul T., and Robert R. McCrae. 2008. The revised NEO personality inventory (NEO-PI-R). In The SAGE handbook of personality theory and assessment. Vol. 2, Personality measurement and testing. Edited by Gregory J. Boyle, Gerald Matthews, and Donald H. Saklofske, 179–198. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

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    Describes the history and process of developing the NEO-PI-R through the use of factor analysis.

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  • Ireland, Jane L., and Carol A. Ireland. 2011. Personality structure among prisoners: How valid is the five-factor model, and can it offer support for Eysenck’s theory of criminality? Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health 21:35–50.

    DOI: 10.1002/cbm.770Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Tested Eysenck’s P-E-N model against the FFM. Found support for the FFM, but only for a modified version of it. Overall, this research suggests that positive traits should be accounted for as well as negative ones.

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  • Le Corff, Yann, and Jean Toupin. 2009. Comparing persistent juvenile delinquents and normative peers with the Five-Factor Model of Personality. Journal of Research in Personality 43:1105–1108.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.jrp.2009.06.011Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Similar to Samuels, et al. 2004, found that the five-factor model can also be used to describe juvenile delinquent populations.

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  • Samuels, Jack, O. Joseph Bienvenu, Bernadette Cullen, Paul T. Costa, William W. Eaton, and Gerald Nestadt. 2004. Personality dimensions and criminal arrest. Comprehensive Psychiatry 45:275–280.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2004.03.013Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Found neuroticism, agreeableness and consciousness to be associated with prior arrest in a sample of individuals from Baltimore, Maryland. This suggests that “normal” personality traits can be used to also describe criminal populations.

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Tellegen’s Three-Factor Model

Tellegen used data collected through the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire (MPQ) to develop his three-factor model (Tellegen and Waller 2008). Of the items in the MPQ, Tellegen found eleven personality traits that could be arranged into three larger domains: positive emotionality, negative emotionality and constraint. Positive emotionality is the “tendency to experience positive emotions. . .[and] the tendency to be involved in interpersonal transactions,” while negative emotionality is the “tendency to experience negative emotions. . .and to be involved in adversarial interpersonal transactions” (Tellegen and Waller 2008, p. 276). Constraint is concerned less with social relationships and emotions and more with the way the individual interacts with his environment. Those who score low in constraint are impulsive, take risks, and tend to reject traditional norms for behavior. Empirical tests have found significant support for the relationship between criminal behavior (Caspi, et al. 1994; Agnew, et al. 2002).

  • Agnew, Robert, Timothy Brezina, John Paul Wright, and Francis T. Cullen. 2002. Strain, personality traits, and delinquency: Extending general strain theory. Criminology 40:43–71.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.2002.tb00949.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Replicated the findings of Caspi, et al. 1994 using data from the National Survey of Children collected in 1976 and 1981. Found that strain (measured in a variety of ways) interacted with negative emotionality and constraint in predicting delinquency.

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  • Caspi, Avshalom, Terrie E. Moffitt, Phil A. Silva, Magda Stouthamer-Loeber, Robert F. Krueger, and Pamela S. Schmutte. 1994. Are some people crime prone? Replications of the personality-crime relationship across countries, genders, races and methods. Criminology 32:163–195.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1994.tb01151.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Overall findings show that those who experience high negative emotionality and low constraint are more likely to engage in crime. Posits that negative emotionality may lead to crime because individuals with this personality type view the world as a threatening and hostile place, while low constraint allows such individuals to act on their impulses.

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  • Tellegen, Auke, and Niels G. Waller. 2008. Exploring personality through test construction: Development of the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire. In The SAGE handbook of personality theory and assessment. Vol. 2, Personality measurement and testing. Edited by Gregory J. Boyle, Gerald Matthews, and Donald H. Saklofske, 261–292. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

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    This reading describes the process of how Tellegen developed his three-factor model through the use of factor analysis and survey design. Best understood by those who have an understanding of research methods and factor analysis.

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Yochelson and Samenow’s Criminal Personality

Yochelson and his colleague, Samenow, locate the causes on criminal behavior in the thinking patterns of offenders (Yochelson and Samenow 1976). Their clinical work revealed that offenders often seek out excitement and engage in reckless thrill-seeking, that they believe they are personally unique, that they are disingenuous and manipulative, and that they are unable to cope with life’s challenges. Samenow’s work highlights the cognitive processes associated with criminal offending. Walters 1995 used Yochelson and Samenow’s theory and developed an assessment of criminal thinking styles, the Psychological Inventory of Criminal Thinking Scales (PICTS). The theory of the criminal personality has been critiqued by a number of scholars. Keller 1980 views Yochelson and Samenow’s theory as too simplistic, while Wulach 1988 asserts that the criminal personality is merely a restatement of Hervey Cleckley’s concept of the psychopath.

  • Keller, Oliver J. 1980. The criminal personality or Lombroso revisited. Federal Probation 44:37–43.

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    Contemporary criticism of Yochelson and Samenow’s criminal personality. Argues that the theory is too simplistic to explain crime and delinquency in that it fails to account for a possible typology of criminals.

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  • Walters, Glenn D. 1995. The psychological inventory of criminal thinking styles part 1: Reliability and preliminary validity. Criminal Justice and Behavior 22:307–325.

    DOI: 10.1177/0093854895022003008Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Describes the Psychological Inventory of Criminal Thinking Scales (PICTS), an assessment developed to measure criminal thinking. Also outlines the process of developing such an instrument. The author suggests that PICTS scores could provide treatment personnel targets for change in order to reduce recidivism.

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  • Wulach, James S. 1988. The criminal personality as a DSM-III-R antisocial, narcissistic, borderline, and histrionic personality disorder. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology 32:185–199.

    DOI: 10.1177/0306624X8803200303Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author compared the criminal personality described by Yochelson and Samenow 1976 to the diagnostic criteria set for the revised third edition of the DSM. Concludes that the criminal personality, rather than being a unique typology of offender, is instead a description of Hervey Cleckley’s psychopath.

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  • Yochelson, Samuel, and Stanton E. Samenow. 1976. The criminal personality. Vol. 1, A profile for change. New York: Jason Aronson.

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    The original work proposing a criminal personality detectable through criminal thinking patterns and verbalizations, rather than the type of crime or frequency of crime commission.

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Megargee’s Overcontrolled/Undercontrolled Personality

Megargee based his theory in Freudian psychodynamics, which posits that human personality is comprised of three parts: the id, the ego, and the superego (Megargee, et al. 1967). The purpose of the ego is to balance the demands of the id, the instinctual drives, with those demands of the superego, the moral part of the mind. The ego can be understood as an internalized code of norms and acceptable behaviors that allow both the id and superego to be satisfied. The ego develops through interactions with others as the individual grows up, making effective parenting particularly important. Crime results when the ego places either too many or too few controls over the id. Overcontrolled individuals experience normal frustrations but are unable to release them in even socially acceptable ways until they finally are overwhelmed and act out aggressively. Conversely, the undercontrolled individual will act out aggressively whenever he senses provocation. The research at that time was not capable of differentiating between undercontrolled and overcontrolled criminals, so Megargee developed the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) overcontrolled hostility (MMPI O-H) scale. While criticisms have been raised that the MMPI O-H permits excessive negative response bias (Megargee and Cook 1975), empirical testing of the predictive validity of the MMPI O-H on a sample of Icelandic prisoners found a relationship between overcontrolled hostility and deception (Gugjonsson, et al. 1991).

  • Gudjonsson, Gisli H., Hannes Petursson, Heiddis Sigurdardottir, and Sigurgisli Skulason. 1991. Overcontrolled hostility among prisoners and its relationship with denial and personality scores. Personality and Individual Differences 12:17–20.

    DOI: 10.1016/0191-8869(91)90127-WSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An empirical evaluation of Megargee’s theory using prisoners in Iceland as subjects. The main finding of this study was that the overcontrolled offender typically also engages in deception, both of himself and others, to gain social approval.

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  • Megargee, Edwin I., and Patrick E. Cook. 1975. Negative response bias and the MMPI overcontrolled-hostility scale: A response to Deiker. Journal of Counseling and Clinical Psychology 43:725–729.

    DOI: 10.1037/0022-006X.43.5.725Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Addresses criticisms of the MMPI O-H raised by another psychologist. The premise of the criticism is that the assessment is written in such a way as to permit excessive negative response bias. For a full understanding of the argument, knowledge of research methods is necessary.

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  • Megargee, Edwin I., Patrick E. Cook, and Gerald A. Mendelsohn. 1967. Development and validation of an MMPI scale of assaultiveness in overcontrolled individuals. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 72:519–528.

    DOI: 10.1037/h0025242Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Describes how Megargee and colleagues developed the MMPI O-H. Contains an excellent description of both the overcontrolled and the undercontrolled criminal, as well as a summary of the items used in assessment. The later sections of the paper require a moderate understanding of statistics.

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Personality Disorders

Certain personality disorders, diagnosed by criteria established by the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA), have been found to be related to criminal behavior (American Psychiatric Association 2000). The APA routinely updates and modifies such diagnostic criteria and publishes it in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, or the DSM. The DSM is currently in a revised fourth version, with the fifth version set to be released in 2013. As such, the manual is referred to as the DSM-IV-TR. Berman 2009 provides brief descriptions of the diagnostic criteria for the DSM-IV-TR personality disorders. To diagnose personality disorders, the DSM-IV-TR gives a list of behaviors, emotions, and thoughts that the clinician should take note of. The clinician is looking for patterns in thoughts and behaviors over time and situations. The distinction between normal and abnormal personality is a difficult one to describe (Harkness and McNulty 1994). The DSM-IV-TR defines a personality disorder as “an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the individual’s culture, is pervasive and inflexible, has an onset in adolescence or early adulthood, is stable over time, and leads to distress or impairment” (p. 685). Once observations have been made and records examined, the clinician determines if the individual has met enough of the criteria to meet the diagnosis. The DSM-IV-TR divides personality disorders into three clusters of behavior. Personality disorders in cluster A are those that encompass “odd or eccentric behavior,” cluster B shows “dramatic, emotional, or erratic behavior,” and cluster C displays “anxious, fearful behavior” (Mental Health America 2011). Of particular interest to those studying crime are cluster B disorders: narcissistic, borderline, antisocial, and histrionic personality disorders. Research on a potential link between histrionic personality disorder and crime is scant and will not be discussed here. In addition to narcissistic, borderline, and antisocial personality disorders (ASPDs), the DSM-IV-TR diagnosis of oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and conduct disorder (CD) are included. It is important to note that these diagnoses are not considered to be personality disorders, even though they show strong continuity and often lead to an adult diagnosis of Antisocial Personality Disorder (Johnson, et al. 2000; Dobbert 2007). Rather, ODD and CD fall into the DSM category of “Disorders Usually First Diagnosed in Infancy, Childhood, or Adolescence.”

  • American Psychiatric Association. 2000. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. 4th ed. Text revision. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

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    The diagnostic manual for mental disorders of all types used by practicing psychiatrists and clinicians. Criteria are developed and set forth by committees of the APA.

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  • Berman, Carol W. 2009. Personality disorders: A practical guide. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health-Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.

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    A very slim summary of the DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria for personality disorders. Meant to serve as a pocket guide for clinicians, this text assumes that the reader already has a thorough background in psychiatry.

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  • Dobbert, Duane L. 2007. Understanding personality disorders: An introduction. Westport, CT: Praeger.

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    An excellent summary of the DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria, as well as vignettes that highlight how these disorders appear in action. The introduction is a thorough discussion of what precisely comprises a personality disorder.

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  • Harkness, Allan R., and John L. McNulty. 1994. The Personality Psychopathology Five (PSY-5): Issue from the pages of a diagnostic manual instead of a dictionary. In Differentiating normal and abnormal personality. Edited by Stephen Strack and Maurice Lorr, 291–315. New York: Springer.

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    Main argument is that the so-called “normal” personality models can be adapted to describe all types of personalities, including those that are abnormal or criminal. Describes a framework for incorporating the five-factor model into the diagnostic criteria for personality disorders.

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  • Johnson, Jeffrey G., Patricia Cohen, Elizabeth Smailes, et al. 2000. Adolescent personality disorders associated with violence and criminal behavior during adolescence and early adulthood. American Journal of Psychiatry 157:1406–1412.

    DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.157.9.1406Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Empirical study finding that adolescents with cluster A and cluster B personality disorders, especially those with narcissistic, paranoid, and passive-aggressive symptoms, are more likely to engage in violence. However, Antisocial Personality Disorder could not be assessed in this sample because such a diagnosis cannot be given until age eighteen.

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  • Mental Health America. 2011. Personality disorders.

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    A very brief overview of personality disorders and diagnostic criteria.

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Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissistic personality disorder is described by the DSM-IV-TR as “a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy that begins by early adulthood and is present in a variety of contexts” (p. 714). Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe they are exceptional and that others should recognize this about them (Dobbert 2007). Logan 2009 proposes that narcissistic personality disorder leads to violence when the individual afflicted with it is put into a situation that threatens to expose weakness or imperfection, which then leads to feelings of shame or humiliation. The narcissist reacts, sometimes violently, in order to prevent feeling these negative emotions and to restore his self-esteem (Ostrowsky 2010). Empirical research examining this relationship between narcissistic personality disorder and crime is somewhat sparse. Rather, the research focuses on narcissistic traits and has found a relationship between such traits and anger (Papps and O’Carroll 1998) and violence (Reidy, et al. 2010). Additional work has described the nature of narcissism as distinct from other personality traits such as Machiavellianism and Psychopathy (Paulhus and Williams 2002). Ostrowsky 2010 argues that a deeper understanding of the construct is necessary to disentangle narcissism from self-esteem.

  • Dobbert, Duane L. 2007. Narcissistic personality disorder. In Understanding personality disorders: An introduction. By Duane L. Dobbert, 87–103. Westport, CT: Praeger.

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    A summary of the DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria for narcissistic personality disorder. A thorough explanation of each of the diagnostic criteria.

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  • Logan, Caroline. 2009. Narcissism. In Personality, personality disorder and violence. Edited by Mary McMurran and Richard Howard, 85–112. West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

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    Of particular interest in this piece is the description of the narcissistic personality and a proposed mechanism relating narcissism to violence.

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  • Ostrowsky, Michael K. 2010. Are violent people more likely to have low self-esteem or high self-esteem? Aggression and Violent Behavior 15:69–75.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.avb.2009.08.004Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Comprehensive review of the existent literature testing the relationship between narcissism/self-esteem and violence. Given the mixture of findings, the author concludes that further research is necessary to disentangle narcissism from self-esteem.

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  • Papps, Benjamin P., and Ronan E. O’Carroll. 1998. Extremes of self-esteem and narcissism and the experience and expression of anger and aggression. Aggressive Behavior 24:421–438.

    DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-2337(1998)24:6%3C421::AID-AB3%3E3.0.CO;2-3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Empirical article that does not directly test narcissistic personality disorder’s relationship to crime and violence. Instead, using a sample of college students in the United Kingdom, the researchers found support for the hypotheses that inflated (narcissistic) self-esteem would be associated with greater anger, in turn leading to an external expression of that anger. Supports the argument proposed by Logan 2009.

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  • Paulhus, Delroy L., and Kevin M. Williams. 2002. The dark triad of personality: Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. Journal of Research in Personality 36:556–563.

    DOI: 10.1016/S0092-6566(02)00505-6Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Evaluates the overlap and differences between the constructs of narcissism, Machiavellianism, and Psychopathy. Overall findings that these constructs are separate and distinct in normal populations.

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  • Reidy, Dennis E., Joshua D. Foster, and Amos Zeichner. 2010. Narcissism and unprovoked aggression. Aggressive Behavior 36:414–422.

    DOI: 10.1002/ab.20356Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Empirical article finds that the relationship between narcissism and violence is potentially moderated by the provocative incident.

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Borderline Personality Disorder

This cluster B diagnosis is defined by the DSM-IV-TR as “a pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity that begins in early adulthood and is present in a variety of contexts” (see American Psychiatric Association 2000, p. 706, cited under Personality Disorders). Dobbert 2007 provides a concise description of each of the criteria required to diagnose an individual with borderline personality disorder. A research study of prisoners in England, Raine 1993 found moderately elevated borderline personality scores in those who were convicted of violent crime but particularly elevated scores in those convicted of murder. This suggests that “mood disturbances in conjunction with unstable and intense interpersonal relationships” can explain the relationship between borderline personality and violence (Raine 1993). Moderate support for such a hypothesis was found by de Barros and de Padua Serafim 2008 in a mentally ill population. Specifically, these authors found borderline patients to be more likely to engage in aggressive acts against others than those diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder, most likely because borderline patients show elevated Impulsivity.

Oppositional Defiant and Conduct Disorders

Conduct disorder is defined as “a repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior in which the basic rights of others or major age-appropriate societal norms or rules are violated” (American Psychiatric Association 2000, p. 93, cited under Personality Disorders). While not considered to be personality disorders in the DSM-IV-TR, oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder can be considered prerequisites of an adult diagnosis of Antisocial Personality Disorder (Dobbert 2007). Similarly, evidence is typically found for a diagnosis of oppositional defiant disorder in children diagnosed as having conduct disorder. An individual of age eighteen or greater cannot be diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder unless evidence for a diagnosis of conduct disorder before age fifteen can be found. Frick 1998 proposed that since a number of diagnostic criteria are shared by oppositional defiant and conduct disorders and they share similar developmental trajectories, both diagnoses measure the same domain of “conduct disorders,” and two different diagnoses may be redundant. Empirical support for this assertion was found by Hill and Nathan 2008. Frick 1998 describes two differing approaches to distinguishing covarying behaviors, both based on factor analyses. These approaches distinguish between aggressive acts against others, status offenses, and property offenses. Similarly, Fergusson, et al. 2010 found a significant relationship between numbers of symptoms present and adverse behavioral outcomes.

Antisocial Personality Disorder

The diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) is made if an individual shows “a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood” (American Psychiatric Association 2000, p. 702, cited under Personality Disorders). Dobbert 2007 provides a concise description of each of the criteria required to diagnose antisocial personality disorder. Empirical work testing ASPD is scarce (De Brito and Hodgins 2009), but significant relationships have been found with ASPD and property offending (De Barros and de Padua Serafim 2008) as well as violence (Hill and Nathan 2008). While ASPD occurs in 2 to 3 percent of the general population, Moran 1999 finds the diagnosis overrepresented in male prisoner populations (60 percent). More often than not, the similar and overlapping empirical construct of Psychopathy is tested instead, particularly in criminal populations (De Brito and Hodgins 2009).

  • Black, Donald W., and C. Lindon Larson. 1999. Bad boys, bad men: Confronting antisocial personality disorder. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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    Easily accessible book-length treatment of antisocial personality disorder. Complete with several real-life examples of men who are chronically antisocial.

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  • De Barros, Daniel Martins, and Antonio de Padua Serafim. 2008. Association between personality disorder and violent behavior pattern. Forensic Science International 179:19–22.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2008.04.013Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A comparison of criminal convictions of patients diagnosed with either antisocial personality disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder. Found those with antisocial personality disorder to be more likely to commit property offenses requiring an element of planning.

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  • De Brito, Stéphane A., and Sheilagh Hodgins. 2009. Antisocial personality disorder. In Personality, personality disorder and violence. Edited by Mary McMurran and Richard Howard, 133–153. West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

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    Comprehensive review of the literature on antisocial personality disorder and its relationship to violence.

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  • Dobbert, Duane L. 2007. Antisocial personality disorder. In Understanding personality disorders: An introduction. By Duane L. Dobbert, 49–62. Westport, CT: Praeger.

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    A summary of the DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria for antisocial personality disorder. A thorough explanation of each of the diagnostic criteria.

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  • Hill, Jonathan, and Rajan Nathan. 2008. Childhood antecedents of serious violence in adult male offenders. Aggressive Behavior 34:329–338.

    DOI: 10.1002/ab.20237Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examined the conviction histories and diagnoses of both conduct disorder and antisocial personality disorder in a sample of violent male inmates in England. Significant relationships were found between violence and adult diagnoses of antisocial personality disorder.

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  • Moran, Paul. 1999. The epidemiology of antisocial personality disorder. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 34:231–242.

    DOI: 10.1007/s001270050138Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Summarizes and describes the etiology and prevalence of antisocial personality disorder in a number of countries, primarily the United States.

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Trait Theories Applicable to Criminology

Criminology has few well-developed trait theories. With the exception of Gottfredson and Hirschi’s General Theory of Crime, all other trait theories discussed in criminology are drawn from the field of psychology. Andrews and Wormith 1989 traces this lack of research on individual differences from the 1950s to the 1980s. Gibbons 1989 responded to Andrews and Wormith 1989, agreeing that criminology has neglected to develop an understanding of individual differences in the etiology of crime. Research since 1990 has led some criminologists to attempt to incorporate such trait theories into the study of crime. Nagin and Farrington 1992 found significant support for the existence of latent traits when they conducted an analysis of longitudinal data. In addition to the aforementioned Gottfredson and Hirschi’s General Theory of Crime, Impulsivity, Machiavellianism, and Psychopathy have all been discussed and tested in criminology.

  • Andrews, Don A., and J. Stephen Wormith. 1989. Personality and crime: Knowledge destruction and construction in criminology. Justice Quarterly 6:289–309.

    DOI: 10.1080/07418828900090221Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Traces the debate over individual differences in criminology from the 1950s multivariate work of the Gluecks to various scholars decrying individual differences in the 1980s. Argues that criminology has neglected to develop theories incorporating personality and individual differences.

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  • Gibbons, Don C. 1989. Personality and crime: Non-issues, real issues, and a theory and research agenda. Justice Quarterly 6:311–323.

    DOI: 10.1080/07418828900090231Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A response to Andrews and Wormith 1989, agreeing that criminology has neglected to develop an understanding of individual traits’ role in crime and violence. Sets forth a plan for further research into the relationship of personality to crime.

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  • Nagin, Daniel S., and David P. Farrington. 1992. The stability of criminal potential from childhood to adulthood. Criminology 30:235–260.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1992.tb01104.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Based on an analysis of longitudinal data, finds that the relationship between past and future criminal behavior is the result of as-yet-unmeasured individual differences. The analysis requires an understanding of statistics.

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Gottfredson and Hirschi’s General Theory of Crime

First proposed in Gottfredson and Hirschi 1990, self-control theory was developed to answer the question of why more people do not commit crime. The authors looked first to the characteristics of criminal acts in order to explain criminal individuals. Critics have since argued that the general theory is therefore tautological (Hirschi and Gottfredson 2000). The answer to Gottfredson and Hirschi’s question was that crime is the result of impulsive actions taken to satisfy immediate desires at the potential expense of long-term goals. Those who engage in crime are unable to control their impulsive urges, leading also to behaviors analogous to crime, such as alcohol and drug abuse, automobile accidents, and unplanned pregnancy (for example). Self-control is the result of parenting practices that condition the child. Gottfredson and Hirschi state that the development of self-control will take place by age seven and is unlikely to take place later in life. Wright and Beaver 2005 questions these assertions, finding that there is a substantial genetic component to self-control. The authors’ genetic theory has undergone extensive empirical testing since its first publication. Grasmick, et al. 1993 developed an instrument that measures attitudinal self-control, making self-report surveys viable to test the relationship of self-control to crime. Pratt and Cullen 2000 synthesized the first decade of such tests in a meta-analysis. The analysis included twenty-one studies and found self-control to be a significant predictor of moderate strength.

  • Gottfredson, Michael R., and Travis Hirschi. 1990. A general theory of crime. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

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    Original work proposing that low self-control is the cause of all crime as well as “analogous behaviors.” Proposes that self-control is the result of parenting practices and will be set by age seven.

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  • Grasmick, Harold G., Charles R. Tittle, Robert J. Bursik, and Bruce J. Arneklev. 1993. Testing the core empirical implications of Gottfredson and Hirschi’s general theory of crime. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 30:5–29.

    DOI: 10.1177/0022427893030001002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Presented one of the first assessments of attitudinal self-control, showing that the construct can be measured through self-report surveys. The scale presented in this article has been extensively used.

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  • Hirschi, Travis, and Michael R. Gottfredson. 2000. In defense of self-control. Theoretical Criminology 4:55–69.

    DOI: 10.1177/1362480600004001003Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A comprehensive argument refuting a number of criticisms that have been raised since the first publication of self-control theory.

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  • Pratt, Travis, and Francis T. Cullen. 2000. The empirical status of Gottfredson and Hirschi’s general theory of crime: A meta-analysis. Criminology 38:931–964.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.2000.tb00911.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Meta-analysis of twenty-one studies, comprising 126 effect sizes, found a significant effect of moderate size of self-control on crime.

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  • Wright, John Paul, and Kevin M. Beaver. 2005. Do parents matter in creating self-control in their children? A genetically informed test of Gottfredson and Hirschi’s theory of low self-control. Criminology 43:1169–1202.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.2005.00036.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Using the nationally representative Early Childhood Longitudinal Study and the subsample of twin pairs, Wright and Beaver found support for a genetic contribution to self-control. Contradicts Gottfredson and Hirschi’s assertion that low self-control is the result solely of parenting.

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Impulsivity

Impulsivity is defined by Jolliffe and Farrington 2009 as “a general reduction in the ability to control one’s behavior” (p. 41). Impulsivity often shows up as a facet of personality in personality models. For example, in Tellegen’s three-factor personality model, impulsivity is termed low constraint, while Eysenck’s P-E-N Model places impulsivity under the domain of psychoticism. Gottfredson and Hirschi 1990 incorporated this construct into the authors’ general theory of crime as a component of self-control. Empirical research has found impulsivity to be significantly associated with criminal involvement regardless of the assessment instrument used to measure impulsivity (Jolliffe and Farrington 2009). However, Lynam and Miller 2004 suggests that there is more than one pathway from impulsivity to deviance. As empirical research into impulsivity progresses, relevant findings may improve the risk assessment of juvenile delinquents (Mathias, et al. 2008). Impulsivity is one of the main diagnostic criteria for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), established by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Pratt, et al. 2002 used meta-analysis to test the relationship between ADHD and crime. They found that ADHD is a significantly consistent predictor of criminal involvement.

  • Jolliffe, Darrick, and David P. Farrington. 2009. A systematic review of the relationship between childhood impulsiveness and later violence. In Personality, personality disorder and violence. Edited by Mary McMurran and Richard Howard, 41–61. West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

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    This systematic review and meta-analysis of six longitudinal studies found violence to be significantly predicted by impulsivity earlier in life. The strength of the relationship varies by how impulsivity and violence are measured, but the analysis was not fully able to assess this variation.

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  • Lynam, Donald R., and Joshua D. Miller. 2004. Personality pathways to impulsive behavior and their relations to deviance: Results from three samples. Journal of Quantitative Criminology 20:319–341.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10940-004-5867-0Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    One of the main findings of this study is that impulsivity does not appear to be a single construct but four differing pathways. The strongest pathway with a relationship to deviance is the “(lack of) premeditation,” or the failure to think of the consequences of one’s actions before engaging in those actions.

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  • Mathias, Charles W., Dawn M. Marsh-Richard, and Donald M. Dougherty. 2008. Behavioral measures of impulsivity and the law. Behavioral Sciences and the Law 26:691–707.

    DOI: 10.1002/bsl.841Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article suggests that legal professionals may be able to use behavioral instruments to better predict criminal behavior in adolescents under court supervision.

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  • Pratt, Travis C., Francis T. Cullen, Kristie R. Blevins, Leah Daigle, and James D. Unnever. 2002. The relationship of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder to crime and delinquency: A meta-analysis. International Journal of Police Science & Management 4:344–360.

    DOI: 10.1350/ijps.4.4.344.10873Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A meta-analysis of twenty studies found a significant relationship between ADHD and crime, a relationship that remains significant even when the diagnosis of ADHD is disaggregated.

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Machiavellianism

Geis and Christie 1970 defines Machiavellianism as the attribute of one who exploits “the weaknesses, failings, and foibles of others for his own purposes” (p. 167). Machiavellianism is proposed to be a trait expressed in social relationships (Geis and Christie 1970). Little exploration of this possible trait has been conducted, as the theoretical underpinnings of Machiavellianism have not been reconciled with research methods for testing (Wilson, et al. 1996). The research that has been conducted thus far tests the relationship of Machiavellianism to lying or deception rather than to delinquency and crime. There is disagreement in the literature regarding the overlap between Machiavellianism and other personality constructs (McHoskey, et al. 1998; Paulhus and Williams 2002).

  • Geis, Florence, and Richard Christie. 1970. Machiavellianism and the manipulation of one’s fellowman. In Personality and social behavior. Edited by Kenneth J. Gergen and David Marlowe, 167–186. Addison-Wesley series in social psychology. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

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    Describes the process by which Geis and Christie developed the Mach scale, as well as the laboratory procedures used to evaluate the scale.

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  • McHoskey, John W., William Worzel, and Christopher Szyarto. 1998. Machiavellianism and psychopathy. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 74:192–210.

    DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.74.1.192Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Four studies are discussed in this article, with the main finding that the constructs of Machiavellianism and Psychopathy have significant overlap, suggesting that the two constructs should be more fully integrated.

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  • Paulhus, Delroy L., and Kevin M. Williams. 2002. The dark triad of personality: Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. Journal of Research in Personality 36:556–563.

    DOI: 10.1016/S0092-6566(02)00505-6Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Evaluates the overlap and differences among the constructs of narcissism, Machiavellianism, and Psychopathy. Overall findings are that these constructs are separate and distinct in normal populations.

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  • Wilson, David S., David Near, and Ralph R. Miller. 1996. Machiavellianism: A synthesis of the evolutionary and psychological literatures. Psychological Bulletin 119:285–299.

    DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.119.2.285Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that Machiavellianism, as currently proposed and formulated, will continue to remain untested until theory developed in evolutionary psychology and research conducted by personality/social psychology are synthesized.

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Psychopathy

Since the seminal work of Cleckley in 1941, scholars have been interested in psychopathy. Psychopathy represents a unique complex of personality traits that include narcissism, a lack of remorse or empathy, egocentricity, low arousal to emotional stimuli, and behavioral characteristics such as living a parasitic lifestyle and exhibiting a long-term pattern of violating social rules (Hare 1993). The study of psychopaths expanded due primarily to the work of Robert Hare, who created a well-known assessment tool. Other assessment tools have been developed, but there are issues of the accurate prediction of offending (Cauffman, et al. 2009). Since Hare’s work, studies on psychopaths have been expanded to include investigations into autonomic nervous system activity, brain structure and function, and neuroendocrine activity (Blair, et al. 2005). In total, these studies suggest that psychopaths do not respond normally to emotional stimuli and that variation in emotional response patterns is tied to differences in brain functioning of psychopaths.

  • Blair, James, Derek Mitchell, and Karina Blair. 2005. The psychopath: Emotion and the brain. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

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    An excellent summary of empirical research linking brain-based functions to psychopathy. Technical yet comprehensive and comprehendible.

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  • Cauffman, Elizabeth, Eva R. Kimonis, Julia Dmitrieva, and Kathryn C. Monahan. 2009. A multimethod assessment of juvenile psychopathy: Comparing the predictive utility of the PCL:YV, YPI, and NEO PRI. Psychological Assessment 21:528–542.

    DOI: 10.1037/a0017367Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Evaluates three different assessments of psychopathy in juveniles to assess each instrument’s ability to predict later offending. Each of the instruments does well in the short term, but fails to perform as the time period lengthens. Additionally, there is little overlap in diagnosis across the three instruments.

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  • Hare, R. D. 1993. Without conscience: The disturbing world of the psychopaths among us. New York: Guilford.

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    Comprehensive text describing each of the items that comprise the Psychopathy Checklist’s two factors. Includes vignettes that highlight each of the personality characteristics of psychopathy.

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Callous Unemotional Traits

Included in Psychopathy are callous unemotional traits, which designate a certain interpersonal style. These traits include “lack of guilt, lack of empathy, callous use of others for one’s own gain” and describe a patterning of affect (Frick and White 2008). These traits in particular have been found to be strongly related to criminal offending (Kruh, et al. 2005; McMahon, et al. 2010).

  • Frick, Paul J., and Stuart F. White. 2008. Research review: The importance of callous-unemotional traits for developmental models of aggressive and antisocial behavior. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 49:359–375.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2007.01862.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Systematic review of the literature on callous unemotional traits. Finds that these traits comprise a subgroup of delinquent youth, whose antisocial behavior is “more severe, aggressive, and stable” (p. 369). Includes a discussion of the implications for further research as well as potential treatment.

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  • Kruh, Ivan P., Paul J. Frick, and Carl B. Clements. 2005. Historical and personality correlates to the violence patterns of juveniles tries as adults. Criminal Justice and Behavior 32:69–96.

    DOI: 10.1177/0093854804270629Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This empirical study tested the variables of callous unemotional traits and Impulsivity conduct problem traits from the Antisocial Process Screening Device (APSD) and Megargee’s overcontrolled hostility test in a population of violent youth. The overcontrolled hostility variable did not have a significant relationship to measures of violence, but both of the scales drawn from the APSD predicted violence.

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  • McMahon, Robert J., Katie Witkiewitz, Julie S. Kotler, and The Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group. 2010. Predictive validity of callous-unemotional traits measured in early adolescence with respect to multiple antisocial outcomes. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 119:752–763.

    DOI: 10.1037/a0020796Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Presents the results of a longitudinal study of youth. Found that callous unemotional traits, when measured in early adolescence, significantly predicted later antisocial outcomes. Additionally, this study failed to find the predictive validity to be moderated by sex, race, or urban/rural status.

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Criticisms of Personality and Trait-Based Theories of Crime

For the most part, criminology has eschewed personality theories and theories of individual differences in favor of sociological explanations of crime. This has occurred for at least four reasons. First, some scholars have argued that the exclusion of personality and individual differences from criminology was a historic holdover from when American criminology split from sociology to become its own discipline. Criminology retained its focus on social factors to the exclusion of individual factors (Hirschi and Hindelang 1977). Second, other criminologists have argued that empirical tests of personality theories found they could not differentiate between criminal and noncriminal populations. Because they could not distinguish criminal from noncriminal individuals, individual differences and personality theories were discarded (Schuessler and Cressey 1950, Tennenbaum 1977). Third, others have argued that since some items used to measure personality reflect behavioral differences, such as how tolerant someone is to stress, the concept of personality becomes tautological when applied to criminal conduct (Waldo and Dinitz 1967). Fourth, some criminologists have an ideological aversion to locating the blame for criminal behavior on individuals and not on inequities in the social structure (Taylor, et al. 1973). Finally, critics also point out that behavior is sometimes dependent on situational factors, factors that may reduce or eliminate the influence of personality characteristics.

  • Hirschi, Travis, and Michael J. Hindelang. 1977. Intelligence and delinquency: A revisionist review. American Sociological Review 42:571–587.

    DOI: 10.2307/2094556Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A comprehensive critique of the neglect of researchers to examine the role of intelligence in delinquency. Proposes six historical reasons that intelligence has been shunned by criminologists as an explanation for crime. Also shows that intelligence, mediated by school performance, predicts delinquency.

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  • Schuessler, Karl F., and Donald R. Cressey. 1950. Personality characteristics of criminals. American Journal of Sociology 55:476–484.

    DOI: 10.1086/220588Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this review of the then-current research on personality and crime, the authors found that personality traits were similarly distributed in both criminal and general samples. Overall, the authors caution against attempting to generalize research findings on restricted samples of prisoners to offenders as a whole, let alone to the broader general population.

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  • Taylor, Ian R., Paul Walton, and Jock Young. 1973. The new criminology: For a social theory of deviance. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

    DOI: 10.4324/9780203405284Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critiques traditional theories of crime and their understanding of the causes of criminal behavior. Argues instead that crime is the result of conflict between classes. These authors argue that the current understanding of crime is inadequate without an analysis of the power structures that make up the criminal justice system.

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  • Tennenbaum, David J. 1977. Personality and criminality: A summary and implications in the literature. Journal of Criminal Justice 5:225–235.

    DOI: 10.1016/0047-2352(77)90041-1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Updates Schuessler and Cressey 1950 work by including more studies and assessment instruments. Comes to similar conclusions, in that personality assessments are not capable of distinguishing between criminals and noncriminals.

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  • Waldo, Gordon P., and Simon Dinitz. 1967. Personality attributes of the criminal: An analysis of research studies, 1950–65. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 4:185–202.

    DOI: 10.1177/002242786700400201Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Uses a methodology similar to that of Schuessler and Cressey. Overall, concludes that personality differences may play a role in criminal behavior but that their importance in the etiology of offending should not be overstated by psychologists.

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LAST MODIFIED: 06/26/2012

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780195396607-0100

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