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Z Kinder Jugendpsychiatr Psychother. 2008 May;36(3):185-90. doi: 10.1024/1422-4917.36.3.185.

Personality correlates of physiological response to stress among incarcerated juveniles.

Author information

  • 1University of California, San Francisco,CA 94143-0850, USA. karnikn@dahsm.ucsf.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

To examine the relationship between personality type and physiological response to stress among juvenile delinquents.

METHODS:

Delinquent males (N = 42, mean age 16.5, SD = 1) recruited from a convenience sample at local juvenile detention facility were compared to a male control sample from a local high school (N = 79; mean age 16.1, SD = 0.8). All participants completed the Weinberger Adjustment Inventory and a Stress-Inducing Speech Task during both of which heart rate was measured.

RESULTS:

Compared to controls, delinquent youths showed significantly lower heart rates under both free association and stress conditions (p < 0.05) and a lower rate of increase during stressful stimuli (p < 0.05). Among delinquents, those with a non-reactive personality type appeared to show consistently lower levels of physiological arousal as measured by heart rate.

CONCLUSIONS:

Delinquents consistently had lower overall levels of arousal as measured by heart rate. In delinquent boys, we also found a persistently low arousal group with a non-reactive psychological pattern. This combination may be a forerunner of future psychopathy or a product of the developmental trajectory that leads to and results from psychopathic behavior.

PMID:
18622978
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3104598
Free PMC Article

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