Psychopathy: Risk Factors, Behavioral Symptoms and Treatment Options


Series: Psychiatry – Theory, Applications and Treatments
BISAC: MED105000

Psychopathy is one of the most serious and challenging conditions that society and mental health professionals face. The consequences of the actions of persons with psychopathy on other individuals or society at large are very great. Persons with psychopathy are extremely difficult to treat and indeed some treatments in the past have been shown to cause deterioration affects. This book explores the issue of psychopathy from the point of view of the individual with psychopathy, brain aspects of the condition, cultural aspects, treatment aspects and it’s relation to autism and other empathy disorder which it can on occasion overlap with.

Offenders with high levels of psychopathy are among the most challenging persons mental health professionals have to treat. They need very careful and skilled interventions. Chromis is an innovative programme described by Tew, Bennett and Atkinson which shows promise. It is a future focused programme which pays attention to control and choice, collaboration and transparency and has a cognitive skills component, a motivation and engagement components. Marc Wilson and Samantha Harley have an interesting chapter on narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism.

They found a relationship between vertical individualism and all three constructs and between hierarchical and narcissism. Their conclusions suggest that hierarchical, autonomous societies may socialise members in such a way that may foster aversive personalities. Don Ambrose in his chapter on unmeritorious meritorocy focuses on a topic that severely affected almost everyone in the developed world in some way. He highlights the admiration for businessmen with psychopathic traits and the negative consequences of this. In the chapter on criminal autistic psychopathy Fitzgerald highlights the overlap between psychopathy and autism.

Hans Asperger in his initial descriptions recognised the overlap between psychopathy and autism with his term autistic psychopathy. This idea faded from view over the last thirty years because there was a wish to separate autism from psychopathy. This wish did not prevent the overlap. Fitzgerald (2010) has introduced the sub group of autism spectrum disorders called criminal autistic psychopathy to cover the section of the spectrum where criminality occurs. It links with the new work on callous and unemotional traits (Fitzgerald 2003) and with mass killings, school and other location shootings where criminal autistic psychopathy is not rare.

The chapter on cognitive neuroscience in child and adolescent psychopathy by Halty and Prieto point out among other issues that in the case of children with psychopathic features there is evidence of fewer references to welfare of victims when they have to justify transgressions. The chapter by Halty and Prieto on psychopathy in child and adolescent populations discuss the issue of psychopathy in children and adolescents and the importance of callous and unemotional traits as well as the influence of parenting practices in the development of child and adolescent psychopathy. Laura Nunes’s chapter on psychopathy: risk factors and behavioural symptoms focuses on treatment of options in extremely difficult area and proposes a biogram.

In the chapter on Hans Asperger autistic psychopathy revisited focuses on the neglected paper of 1938 long before Leo Kanner wrote his paper on autism. Asperger worked on this topic throughout the 1930’s. It also focuses on the differential diagnosis of autism and schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder and other personality disorders. Ana Calzada and colleagues give us a very important chapter on brain scanning and psychopathy. These neuroanatomic differences in violent individuals are very important in terms of aetiology diagnosis and treatment problems and important areas for future research. (Imprint: Nova)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 – The Treatment of Offenders with High Levels of Psychopathy through Chromis and the Westgate Service: What Have We Learned from the Last Eight Years? (pp. 1-30)
J. Tew,, A. L. Bennett and R. Atkinson (National Offender Management Service, Ministry of Justice, United Kingdom and The Centre for Forensic and Criminological Psychology, The University of Birmingham, Birmingham, England; The Westgate Personality Disorder Treatment Service, HMP Frankland, and National Offender Management Service, Ministry of Justice, UK)

Chapter 2 – Psychopathy: A Proposal for an Integrated Evaluation (pp. 31-40)
Laura M. Nunes (Fernando Pessoa University, Oporto / Portugal)

Chapter 3 – MRI Study in Psychopath and Non-Psychopath Offenders (pp. 41-60)
Ana Calzada-Reyes, Alfredo Alvarez-Amador, Lídice Galán-García, Mitchell Valdés-Sosa, Lester Melie-García,Yasser Alemán-Gómez and José del Carmen Iglesias-Alonso (Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, Institute of Legal Medicine, Independence Avenue, Plaza, Havana City; Cuban Center of Neuroscience, Havana City and Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, Carlos Juan Finlay, General Hospital, Havana, Cuba)

Chapter 4 – Unmeritorious Meritocracy: The Ascendance of Psychopathic Plutocracy in the Globalized 21st-Century (pp. 61-74)
Don Ambrose (Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, US)

Chapter 5 – Narcissism, Psychopathy and Machiavellianism: Associations between Cultural Factors and Interpersonal Dominance (pp. 75-94)
Marc Stewart Wilson and Samantha M. Hartley (School of Psychology, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)

Chapter 6 – Hans Asperger’s Autistic Psychopathy: Revisited (pp. 95-104)
Michael Fitzgerald (Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Dublin, Ireland)

Chapter 7 – Criminal Autistic Psychopathy (pp. 105-150)
Michael Fitzgerald (Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Dublin, Ireland)

Chapter 8 – Stability of Psychopathic Traits in Youth: Long-Term Trends and Comparisons with the Stability of the Five Factor Model of Personality (pp. 151-190)
Mary Ann Campbell, Ph.D. Rosemary Beauregard and Fred Schmidt, Ph.D. (Psychology Department & Centre for Criminal Justice Studies, University of New Brunswick-Saint John Campus, Saint John, New Brunswick; Children’s Centre Thunder Bay, Thunder Bay, Ontario; Psychology Department, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and Centre for Criminal Justice Studies, University of New Brunswick-Saint John Campus,
New Brunswick, Canada)

Chapter 9 – Disordered Self in Schizophrenia and Autism Spectrum Disorders. The Autisms and the Self (pp. 191-204)
Michael Fitzgerald and Viktoria Lyons (Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Dublin, Ireland)


This book is relevant to all mental health professionals including psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and also all of those working with persons with legal problems and the law. Institutions dealing with delinquency, prisoners, offenders and the criminal justice system would be particularly interested in this book.

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