Juvenile psychopathy and traumatic events among incarcerated adolescents Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Edwards, Jeffrey D.
    • Affiliation: School of Social Work
  • This dissertation addresses three topics related to juvenile psychopathy in order to improve social and mental health services for youth with this challenging disorder. Chapter 2 provides an overview for practitioners who encounter youth with psychopathy in various service settings. Chapters 3 and 4 are empirical studies that use data collected from 723 youth in the Missouri Division of Youth Services treatment system in 2004. Chapter 2 is an attempt to address the current lack of translation from research to practice in the psychopathy area. The overview is intended to provide practitioners with an up-to-date, succinct account of juvenile psychopathy. As practitioners encounter youth with psychopathy, their job becomes exponentially more difficult with the current lack of access to practice-related information regarding treatment of this subgroup of youth offenders. The overview examines research published in the past decade and addresses several topics that are currently debated in the literature: biological and social risk factors for psychopathy, assessment of psychopathy, and treatment of juvenile psychopathy. Our hope is that practitioners, armed with this knowledge, can act earlier and more effectively with youth who have psychopathy. A topic of debate among researchers and practitioners alike is the questionability of reliable and valid assessment of psychopathy in youth. While some observers feel that labeling psychopathic youth may be damaging, others believe that assessing youth with psychometrically sound measurement tools may provide valuable assistance in helping this subgroup of disordered youth. Chapter 3 examines the concurrent validity of a widely used tool for the assessment of psychopathy in youth: the Antisocial Process Screening Device (APSD). Results demonstrate that the APSD adequately captures antisocial behaviors characteristic of psychopathic youth, but that it may not adequately measure the affective deficits known to characterize psychopathy. Contemporary discussions of youth psychopathy often focus on putative biological and sociological risk factors for psychopathy. The study described in Chapter 4 examines the relationship of traumatic experiences to psychopathy. More specifically, the study examines how traumatic events may lead to the maintenance of psychopathic tendencies and how features of psychopathy lead the disordered individual to experience a higher number of traumatic events. Results indicate that APSD scores and traumatic experiences are not significantly associated, whereas APSD scores and victimization experiences are significantly positively associated. The chapter then discusses these findings in more detail. The information in this dissertation contributes to psychopathy literature by providing practitioners with information on psychopathic youth, testing the concurrent validity of a widely used assessment tool, and by examining potential risk factors for psychopathy in youth.
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  • In Copyright
  • Howard, Matthew O.
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2012

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