Personality disorder and psychopathy: Conceptual and empirical integration
The classification of personality disorders originated from German concepts of psychopathic personalities as abnormal personalities whose abnormalities cause personal or social distress, but antisocial personality disorder owes more to a British tradition that defined personal abnormality in terms of social deviance. The recent concept of psychopathy is a mixture of these traditions, but a focus on the psychopath as a criminal type has obscured its relationship to the broader class of personality disorders. Research with the PCL-R shows that it relates as closely to narcissistic and histrionic personality disorders as to antisocial personality disorder, and that psychopathy and these disorders reflect a common underlying dimension of personality disorder. Dimensions of personality disorder can be conceptualized as variations or exaggerations of normal personality dimensions, and recent findings indicate a hierarchical organization in which psychopathy represents one of two superordinate dimensions underlying normal and abnormal personality. Personality traits are critical treatment targets in high risk offenders.
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