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Behav Sci Law. 2010 Mar-Apr;28(2):235-66. doi: 10.1002/bsl.928.

Treatment of psychopathy: a review and brief introduction to the mental model approach for psychopathy.

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Department of Psychology, Disruptive Behavior Clinic (DBC), Center for the Prevention of Youth Behavior Problems, University of Alabama, P. O. Box 870348, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487 USA.


Psychopathy is thought by many to be an untreatable disorder. This article puts the treatment of psychopathy into historical context and reviews research on the treatment of the disorder with adults (K = 8) and youth (K = 5). Findings indicate that treatment for adults shows low to moderate success with three of eight studies demonstrating treatment gains. Treatment of youth appears to be more promising with six of eight studies showing treatment benefits. Although less than optimal success rates with adults, we suggest that bright line distinctions regarding the treatability of those with psychopathic characteristics from non-psychopathic individuals are inappropriate at this time. We conclude with directions for future research and briefly introduce the mental models approach for the treatment of psychopathy in youths.

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