Antisociality in a developmental perspective

Sammanfattning: The general aim in this thesis is to study different factors that might affect antisocial and violent behaviour in incarcerated Russian juvenile delinquents, such as: psychopathic tendencies; personality traits; impulsiveness; antisocial attitudes; and, alcohol problems. The thesis consists of two studies, Study 1 and Study 2. The purpose of Study I was: a) to examine the discriminative power of the Antisocial Process Screening Device (APSD), aggressive traits, impulsiveness, antisocial attitudes and alcohol-related problems between subgroups of juvenile delinquents with low versus high levels of violent behaviour; and, b) to compare the predictive value of these variables in two subgroups defined by higher vs lower levels of psychopathic traits. The participants (n=175) were assessed with the APSD by trained staff, further they were self- assessed by the Antisocial Behavior Checklist (ABC), the Aggression Questionnaire (AQ), Barrat Impulsiveness Scale (BIS-11), Antisocial Attitudes Scale (AAS), the Adolescent Alcohol Involvement Scale (AAIS), and Rutgers Alcohol Problem Index (RAPI). There were also data on type of crime committed (violent/non-violent). Results revealed that only the APSD score, traits of physical aggression, and alcohol-related problems were able to discriminate between groups with various levels of violence. Furthermore, the level of violence was the only variant factor when comparing levels of psychopathy, the psychopathic group being more violent. Different sets of predictors emerged for the group with higher versus lower psychopathy scores. The results suggest that psychopathic youth are more prone to become violent while using alcohol. The objective of study II was to evaluate a new scale aimed at assessing antisocial attitudes, the Pro-Bullying Attitude Scale (PAS), on a group of male juvenile delinquents. The participants (n=171) were assessed with the Childhood Psychopathy Scale (CPS) by trained teachers and completed the PAS, the ABC, the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI), the Youth Self-Report (YSR). As in Study I, there were also data on type of crime. Principal Components Analysis with Direct Oblimin Rotation gave a two-factor solution: Factor 1 denoted Callous/Dominance, and Factor 2 Manipulativeness/Impulsiveness. The subjects were divided into two extreme groups (first and fourth quartile) according to their sum scores on PAS and the two factor scores, respectively. The extreme groups of PAS and Factor 1 differed in both delinquent, aggressive, and violent behaviour, and psychopathic tendencies, those in the fourth quartile being more delinquent, aggressive, violent and psychopathic. The extreme groups of PAS and Factor 1 differed in the personality trait Harm Avoidance, the fourth quartile being scoring lower in Harm Avoidance. The fourth quartile in Factor 2 had more aggressive behavior and was low in the personality trait Self-Directedness. When PAS was used as a continuous variable, those who scored high in PAS and Factor 1 were more likely to have committed a violent crime. Pro-bullying attitudes were suggested as a link between certain personality traits and psychopathic tendencies on the one hand and between antisocial and violent behaviour on the other. The general discussion stressed the importance of psychopathy, antisocial attitudes and impulsivity in predicting antisocial and violent behavior. Treatment implications were also discussed, such as specific treatment for highly psychopathic individuals and using PAS as an instrument in identifying high risk individuals for bullying tendencies, prison misconduct and violent behaviour among incarcerated delinquents.

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