Compare and contrast the constructs/disorders of psychopathy and antisocial
Next, explain which type of general approach has been used to
research these constructs-positivist or constructionist-be sure to provide several
examples from our readings in identifying the main tenets of the approach that you
choose. (1.5 pages)
Psychopathy is not a diagnosis of the DSMIV; however, antisocial personality
disorder (APD) is.
While APD encompasses only antisocial behaviors, psychopathy
is a combination of both antisocial behaviors and personality characteristics.
a personality disorder that is prevalent among 3% males and only 1% females.
DSMIV states that antisocial behaviors consistent of APD include deceitfulness,
irresponsibility, recklessness, impulsivity.
In order to be diagnosable these
symptoms must have appeared since the age of 15.
Other behaviors such as
bullying, fighting, cruelty to animals and/or people, setting fires, stealing, and
vandalism must be present before the age of 15.
Robert Hare defines psychopathy according to the PCL-R, which is a checklist
that contains 20 items based on two factors.
Factor one includes antisocial
personality characteristics, such as egocentricity, callousness, manipulativeness,
superficial charm, and a lack of remorse.
Factor two includes features that are
conducive to antisocial behaviors or lifestyle, such as promiscuity, juvenile
delinquency, impulsivity, and drug/alcohol abuse.
An individual with psychopathy
can also have APD; yet most individuals with APD do not have psychopathic traits.
Among inmates, only 20% exhibit both APD and psychopathy. In the prison
population, those with psychopathic traits compose of 10-15%, while 50% have been
diagnosed with APD. While both are violent and can exhibit consistent antisocial
behaviors throughout a lifespan, psychopaths are more violent and begin their
criminality at an earlier age. Psychopaths also commit more crimes and recidivate
more than those with APD.
Psychopathy and APD research is positivistic oriented.
Positivism seeks to
explain the deviant acts and determine what
it, whereas constructivism
focuses on the reaction of the deviant act and why society brands it as such.
Etiological research of psychopathy and APD tends to focus on biological,
psychological, or sociological causes.
Some proposed biological causes of APD
include brain damage, lack of impulse control due to genetic problems,
or problems with neurotransmitters, and abnormalities in central nervous
system which results in less emotional arousal.
Sociological and psychological
causes include child abuse and other environmental trauma that affects the
Much evidence exists that shows that the environment, not
biology, has a primary culprit in the emergence of APD.
Of the types of child abuse
that have been linked to APD, physical abuse is the most often cited cause.