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J Pers Disord. 1999 Fall;13(3):211-25.

The childhood experiences of psychopaths: a retrospective study of familial and societal factors.

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Department of Psychology, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK.


We compared the childhood experiences of criminal psychopaths with those of criminal nonpsychopaths, to examine whether differences in either the type or intensity of adverse experience in childhood could be identified. One hundred and five prisoners, 50 psychopaths, and 55 nonpsychopaths were assessed with the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) and Childhood Experience of Care and Abuse (CECA) semistructured interviews. Both assessment measures have been demonstrated to be reliable and valid instruments. File information from both adult and child services provided corroborative material. Factor analysis of the childhood experience variables revealed two distinct factors, familial and societal, both of which were highly correlated with adult psychopathy scores. These findings suggest that the experiences psychopaths have in childhood influence adult outcome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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