Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Psychopathic traits in teenagers not cast in stone

Date:
September 19, 2013
Source:
Springer
Summary:
Most youths are concerned about other people's feelings and adhere to social rules. A small group of youths, however, does not. These youths express psychopathic personality traits that are associated with adult psychopathy, a serious personality disorder that is linked with antisocial behavior and criminality.

Most youths are concerned about other people's feelings, they feel bad or guilty when they have done something wrong and they adhere to social rules. A small group of youths, however, does not. These youths express psychopathic personality traits that are associated with adult psychopathy, a serious personality disorder that is linked with antisocial behavior and criminality. A study conducted by Selma Salihovic and her research team at Örebro University in Sweden shows that for this small group of youth, psychopathic traits remain quite stable over a period of four years. Their findings are published in Springer's Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment.

Related Articles


While other recent studies have tried to describe the relative stability of adolescent psychopathic traits, Salihovic and her colleagues are the first to examine the long-term and joint development during adolescence of three defining, yet separate, characteristics that are hallmark of psychopathy. These characteristics, which include traits such as lack of remorse or guilt, manipulativeness and irresponsible behavior, are associated with juvenile delinquency, future antisocial behavior and violence.

"One of the reasons why researchers are studying earlier expressions of psychopathic personality traits is to better understand how psychopathy develops," Salihovic, doctoral student in developmental psychology and lead author of the study, said. "Knowledge about the stability and change of these traits can help us pinpoint the developmental period when they are the least stable and therefore also more amenable to treatment."

The study followed 1,068 youths in the seventh to ninth grades from a Swedish city over a period of four years. Girls and boys were represented in almost equal number and 92.5 percent of the youths were of Swedish descent. Psychopathic traits were measured with the Youth Psychopathic Traits Inventory, a self-report instrument designed to capture psychopathic traits in youths 12 years and older.Salihovic and her colleagues found four subgroups of youths who were characterized by high, low and moderate levels of psychopathic traits and decreasing or stable development.

As expected, most of the adolescents in the study had low to moderate levels of psychopathic traits that continued to decline with age. These youths had low levels of delinquent behavior and reported having warm and understanding relationships with their parents. However, for a small group of youths, these characteristics remained high and stable over the course of the study period. These teenagers maintained high levels of all psychopathic traits, despite having slight dips in the levels of the callous-unemotional traits and impulsive-irresponsive behavior that are so typical of psychopathy. Not surprisingly, these were the adolescents who also reported the highest levels of delinquency, and had the most difficult relationships with their parents.

Salihovic acknowledges that for a small group of youths, in whom high and stable levels of psychopathic characteristics were found, the study results do not bode well for the future. However, she adds: "Psychopathic traits, like general personality traits, are in development during the teenage years, which means that developmental tracks are not cast in stone and that effective therapeutic intervention can change the course of development."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Selma Salihovic, Metin Özdemir, Margaret Kerr. Trajectories of Adolescent Psychopathic Traits. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 2013; DOI: 10.1007/s10862-013-9375-0

Cite This Page:

Springer. "Psychopathic traits in teenagers not cast in stone." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130919112722.htm>.
Springer. (2013, September 19). Psychopathic traits in teenagers not cast in stone. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130919112722.htm
Springer. "Psychopathic traits in teenagers not cast in stone." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130919112722.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins