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J Autism Dev Disord. 2018 Sep;48(9):3010-3020. doi: 10.1007/s10803-018-3576-z.

Higher Autistic Traits Among Criminals, But No Link to Psychopathy: Findings from a High-Security Prison in Portugal.

Author information

1
Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra, Praceta Prof. Mota Pinto, 3000-075, Coimbra, Portugal. dee.rafaela@gmail.com.
2
Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de Coimbra, Rua Larga, 3004-504, Coimbra, Portugal. dee.rafaela@gmail.com.
3
Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra, Praceta Prof. Mota Pinto, 3000-075, Coimbra, Portugal.
4
Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de Coimbra, Rua Larga, 3004-504, Coimbra, Portugal.

Abstract

The relationship between autism, criminality and psychopathy has gained increased attention in recent years, although research has focused on autism spectrum disorders, and not autistic traits. We measured autistic traits (with the Autism Spectrum Quotient) in a sample of 101 inmates from a high-security prison and compared them to a control group, using a logistic regression model that included age, education, psychopathology, psychopathy and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder as covariates. Prisoners had more autistic traits (OR 1.13, p = 0.002) due to higher scores in the communication (OR 1.23) and imagination (OR 1.30) domains. No correlations were found between autistic and psychopathic traits. Our study points to the presence of autistic traits as being independent risk factors for imprisonment, although not associated with psychopathy.

KEYWORDS:

Adult; Autism; Criminality; Prison; Psychopathy

PMID:
29651681
DOI:
10.1007/s10803-018-3576-z

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