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Affective disorder and ‘psychopathy’ in a sample of younger male delinquents

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Moeller AA, Hell D. Affective disorder and ‘psychopathy’ in a sample of younger male delinquents.

Acta Psychiatr Scand 2003: 107: 203–207. © Blackwell Munksgaard 2003. Objective: 

The authors' goal was to determine the prevalence of affective disorder, a history of traumatic events and the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis in their relationship to ‘psychopathy’ in a sample of younger male delinquents admitted to a correctional institution. Method: 

As part of routine mental health screening, the SCID-1 and Psychopathy Checklist (PCL-R) were administered to 102 inmates aged 17–27 years. Results: 

Affective disorder was found in 28% and 29% had a history of suicidal attempts. The PCL-R-score was significantly correlated with the number of prior threatening events, but PTSD could not be diagnosed in the ‘psychopathic’ group. The prevalence of affective disorder was significantly higher in the ‘non-psychopathic’ group. Conclusion: 

The inverse relationship between threatening events and the PTSD diagnosis seems to indicate other coping modalities than those found in ‘non-psychopaths’. That finding is discussed against the background of psychophysiological data and psychosocial learning models.

Keywords: affective disorder; delinquency; post-traumatic stress disorder; psychopathy

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University Clinic for Psychiatry, University of Zuerich, Switzerland

Publication date: 2003-03-01

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