A hierarchical biometric model is presented of the origins of comorbidity among substance dependence, antisocial behavior, and a disinhibited personality style. The model posits a spectrum of personality and psychopathology, united by an externalizing factor linked to each phenotype within the spectrum, as well as specific factors that account for distinctions among phenotypes within the spectrum. This model fit self-report and mother-report data from 1,048 male and female 17-year-old twins. The variance of the externalizing factor was mostly genetic, but both genetic and environmental factors accounted for distinctions among phenotypes within the spectrum. These results reconcile evidence for general and specific causal factors within the externalizing spectrum and offer the externalizing factor as a novel target for future research.
Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by impulsive antisocial deviance in the context of emotional and interpersonal detachment. A factor analysis of the subscales of the Psychopathic Personality Inventory (PPI) yielded evidence for 2 factors. One factor showed relations with external criteria mirroring those of the emotional-interpersonal facet of psychopathy, including high dominance, low anxiety, and venturesomeness. The other factor showed relations paralleling those of the social deviance facet of psychopathy, including positive correlations with antisocial behavior and substance abuse, negative correlations with socioeconomic status and verbal ability, and personality characteristics including high negative emotionally and low behavioral constraint. Findings support using the PPI to assess these facets of psychopathy in community samples and to explore their behavioral correlates and genetic-neurobiological underpinnings.
The authors used model-based cluster analysis to identify subtypes of criminal psychopaths on the basis of differences in personality structure. Participants included 96 male prisoners diagnosed as psychopathic, using the Psychopathy Checklist Revised (PCL-R; R. D. Hare, 1991). Personality was assessed using the brief form of the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire (MPQ-BF; C. J. Patrick, J. J. Curtin, and A. Tellegen, 2002). The best-fitting model yielded two clusters. Emotionally stable psychopaths were characterized by low Stress Reaction and high Agency. Aggressive psychopaths were characterized by high Negative Emotionality, low Constraint, and low Communion. These results suggest that psychopaths as defined by the PCL-R includes distinct subtypes, distinguishable in terms of personality structure, that may reflect different etiologies.
The mechanism underlying the familial transmission of externalizing disorders is primarily a highly heritable general vulnerability. This general vulnerability or common risk factor should be the focus of research regarding the etiology and treatment of externalizing disorders.
Background-Little research has examined genetic and environmental contributions to psychopathic personality traits. Additionally, no studies have examined etiological connections between psychopathic traits and the broad psychopathological domains of internalizing (mood and anxiety) and externalizing (antisocial behavior, substance abuse). The current study was designed to fill these gaps in the literature.
A crucial challenge in efforts to link psychological disorders to neural systems, with the aim of developing biologically informed conceptions of such disorders, is the problem of method variance (Campbell & Fiske, 1959). Since even measures of the same construct in differing domains correlate only moderately, it is unsurprising that large sample studies of diagnostic biomarkers yield only modest associations. To address this challenge, a construct-network approach is proposed in which psychometric operationalizations of key neurobehavioral constructs serve as anchors for identifying neural indicators of psychopathology-relevant dispositions, and as vehicles for bridging between domains of clinical problems and neurophysiology. An empirical illustration is provided for the construct of inhibition-disinhibition, which is of central relevance to problems entailing deficient impulse control. Findings demonstrate that: (1) a well-designed psychometric index of trait disinhibition effectively predicts externalizing problems of multiple types, (2) this psychometric measure of disinhibition shows reliable brain response correlates, and (3) psychometric and brain-response indicators can be combined to form a joint psychoneurometric factor that predicts effectively across clinical and physiological domains. As a methodology for bridging between clinical problems and neural systems, the construct-network approach provides a concrete means by which existing conceptions of psychological disorders can accommodate and be reshaped by neurobiological insights.
Low negative emotionality (NEM) holds a central place in classic descriptions and seminal theories of psychopathy. However, the empirical link between low NEM and psychopathy is weak. The authors posited that this inconsistency is due to the multifaceted nature of both the NEM and psychopathy constructs and to suppressor effects between facets of psychopathy in relation to NEM criteria. The authors sought to delineate the differential associations between facets of psychopathy and NEM in a large sample of male prisoners using the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R; R. D. Hare, 2003) and self-report measures assessing different aspects of NEM. Statistical analyses revealed that the interpersonal-affective facet of psychopathy is negatively associated whereas the social deviance facet of psychopathy is positively associated with facets of NEM. The results demonstrate that suppressor effects can reconcile the centrality of NEM in classic descriptions of psychopathy with empirical investigations using the PCL-R. Keywordspsychopathy; negative affect; suppressor effects; Psychopathy Checklist-Revised Explicating the relationship between psychopathy and negative emotionality (NEM; the tendency to experience unpleasant emotional states such as fear, anger, and nervous tension) has been one of the most challenging and conceptually important issues in psychopathy research. Although low anxiety and fearlessness have featured prominently in many clinical descriptions and theories of psychopathy (Cleckley, 1941;Fowles, 1980;Karpman, 1948;Lykken, 1995; Patrick, in press), empirical investigations often yield weak, inconsistent, or complex effects, creating confusion regarding the etiological significance of low NEM in psychopathy (cf. Hare, 2003). We contend that these difficulties are due to (a) the multifaceted nature of both the NEM and psychopathy constructs, such that different facets of NEM have differential associations with the facets of psychopathy, and (b) the presence of suppressor effects between the factor scores of the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R; Hare, 1991Hare, , 2003 in relation to NEM criterion measures.We provide a comprehensive analysis of the relationship between facets of psychopathy as operationalized by PCL-R factor scores and several facets of NEM. In particular, we provide a systematic examination of the suppressor effects present between the PCL-R factor scores in the prediction of NEM outcomes. We demonstrate that suppression provides the analytic and conceptual framework needed to reconcile the centrality of NEM in clinical descriptions NIH-PA Author ManuscriptNIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript of psychopathy with empirical investigations that use the PCL-R. Specifically, we demonstrate that PCL-R Factor 1 (F1) and Factor 2 (F2) exhibit mutually repulsive effects in the prediction of facets of NEM, wherein F1 is negatively associated with emotional distress (a similar but broader construct than trait anxiety) and fearfulness and is unrelated to anger-hostility, w...
The discriminant validity of the interpersonal-affective and social deviance traits of psychopathy has been well documented. However, few studies have explored whether these traits follow distinct or comparable developmental paths. The present study used the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire (A. Tellegen, in press) to examine the development of the psychopathic traits of Fearless Dominance (i.e., interpersonal-affective) and Impulsive Antisociality (i.e., social deviance) from late adolescence to early adulthood in a longitudinal-epidemiological sample of male and female twins. Results from mean- and individual-level analyses revealed stability in Fearless Dominance from late adolescence to early adulthood, whereas Impulsive Antisociality declined over this developmental period. In addition, biometric findings indicated greater genetic contributions to stability in these traits and greater nonshared environmental contributions to their change over time. Collectively, these findings suggest distinct developmental trends for psychopathic traits from late adolescence to early adulthood.
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