Psychopath is traditionally defined as a personality disorder characterized by persistent antisocial behavior, impaired empathy and remorse, and bold, disinhibited, egotistical traits.
Now a UBC study has found that people with higher levels of psychopathic tendencies are more likely to assault their romantic partners.
In addition, these people are more likely to drink alcohol.
The study, which was conducted at UBC’s Okanagan campus, involved looking at data and police reports involving 700 US civil psychiatric patients in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as well as 870 students at UBC’s campus in Kelowna, BC.
Researchers found that having higher levels of psychopathic personality traits is an important predictor of how likely someone is to engage in intimate partner violence.
While they also found that people with psychopathic tendencies tended to drink more alcohol, the data tells us it is their personality traits more than substance use that is associated with violence.
With further investigation, this research may be able to assist policy makers and service providers in their efforts to both predict and reduce violence among couples.
The research also showed that association between psychopathic personality traits and violence was consistent across both students and psychiatric patients.
The finding was recently published in the journal Law and Human Behaviour.
Citation: Okano M, et al. (2016). Psychopathy, alcohol use, and intimate partner violence: Evidence from two samples. Law and Human Behavior, 40: 517-523. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/lhb0000192.
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