This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Antisocial Personality Disorder vs. Psychopathy: An analysis of the literature




Everett, David

Type of Degree





Antisocial Personality Disorder and Psychopathy are disorders related by their associations with criminal behavior. Antisocial Personality Disorder is a pervasive pattern of disregard for the rights of others beginning in childhood and continuing into adulthood. Psychopathy is characterized by a variety of affective and behavioral traits, such as impulsivity, lack of remorse or empathy, and irresponsibility. Although their histories are intertwined, some researchers, such as Hare, have considered the disorders separate since 1980 and the inclusion of Antisocial Personality Disorder in the DSM-III. Yet there are some researchers who still consider these disorders linked, such as being two measurement criteria of the same construct, or two sides of the same coin, so to speak. Assuming ASPD and Psychopathy were separate disorders, it could be expected for the research literature of each to be also distinctly separate from one another. This study was an attempt to analyze and define the possible differences between the research literatures for Antisocial Personality Disorder and Psychopathy. Seventy-seven articles were selected from eight top psychological journals for four specific years covering the last three decades of research to be used for this study. The articles were separated into categories by diagnostic focus and split by their country of origin (American or other country) as well as the association of the publication in which they appeared (American vs. International). Results indicated that there was some overlap between the two research literatures due to the presence of articles using both diagnoses as well as articles using other, alternative diagnoses, such as Sociopathy. Also, it was expected that the ASPD literature would mostly be associated with American entities, such as authors and journals, and that Psychopathy would be concentrated in International journals by International authors. Results showed that, again, there was overlap in this area, as well.