Psychopathy among prisoners in England and Wales

Coid, Jeremy, Yang, Min, Ullrich, Simone , Roberts, Amanda, Moran, Paul, Bebbington, Paul, Brugha, Traolach, Jenkins, Rachel, Farrell, Michael, Lewis, Glyn, Singleton, Nicola and Hare, Robert (2009) Psychopathy among prisoners in England and Wales. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 32 (3). pp. 134-141. ISSN 0160-2527

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Psychopathy Among Prisoners in England and Wales

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Most research into psychopathy among prisoners is based on selected samples. It remains unclear whether prevalences are lower among European populations. This study aimed to measure the prevalence of
psychopathy, and the distribution and correlates of psychopathic traits in a representative national sample of
prisoners. Psychopathy was measured using the revised Psychopathy Checklist (PCL-R) in a second stage,
cross-sectional survey of prisoners in England and Wales in 1997 (n=496). Poisson regression analysis was
carried out to examine independent associations between correlates and PCL-R total and factor scores. The
prevalence of categorically diagnosed psychopathy at a cut off of 30 was 7.7% (95%CI 5.2–10.9) in men and
1.9% (95%CI 0.2–6.9) in women. Psychopathic traits were less prevalent among women. They were correlated
with younger age, repeated imprisonment, detention in higher security, disciplinary infractions, antisocial,
narcissistic, histrionic, and schizoid personality disorders, and substance misuse, but not neurotic disorders
or schizophrenia. The study concluded that psychopathy and psychopathic traits are prevalent among male
prisoners in England and Wales but lower than in most previous studies using selected samples. However,
most correlates with psychopathic traits were similar to other studies. Psychopathy identifies the extreme of
a spectrum of social and behavioral problems among prisoners.

Keywords:Psychopathy, Epidemiology, Prisoners, Sampling
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C890 Psychology not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:15798
Deposited On:24 Oct 2014 11:11

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