Comparing psychopathy subtypes in terms of instrumental and reactive violence


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Patel, Khyati (2013). Comparing psychopathy subtypes in terms of instrumental and reactive violence. University of Birmingham. Foren.Psy.D.

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Research has suggested that primary psychopaths may be more instrumentally violent, and secondary psychopaths more reactively violent. The aim of the thesis was to conduct a systematic literature review identifying studies of importance within the area of psychopathy and violence. Results for this review concluded that there is a primary and secondary psychopathy distinction and that primary psychopathy is associated with instrumental violence and secondary psychopathy is closely linked to reactive violence.

Therefore the research aims were to compare subtypes of psychopathy in terms of instrumental and reactive violence. The study subtyped pre-diagnosed psychopaths using a dimensional measure of personality, the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire (MPQ-BF) (Patrick, Curtin & Tellegen, 2002). A total of 40 participants with a high psychopathy score and a history of violent offences were recruited. Results from the research were analysed using model based cluster analysis which replicated previous findings of two distinct psychopathy groups. Findings suggested the primary psychopath group (n = 12) had a trend towards instrumental violence, while secondary psychopath group (n = 28) were more evenly distributed amongst instrumental and reactive violence subtypes. This is broadly consistent with previous findings in terms of the characteristics of psychopathy subtypes and, to a lesser extent, their expected propensity for different types of violence.

Finally, the MPQ-BF was analysed and critiqued to establish its validity and reliability within research. It was concluded that there was a need for the questionnaire to be normed on a number of varying populations to increase generalisability.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Foren.Psy.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Foren.Psy.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: Centre for Forensic and Criminological Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology


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