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Annu Rev Clin Psychol. 2005;1:381-407.

The development of psychopathy.

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Department of Psychology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky 40506-0044, USA.


In this review, we explore two aspects of the development of psychopathy. First, we examine what psychopathy looks like across time. Second, we ask where psychopathy comes from. Much recent empirical work supports the idea that psychopathy in childhood and adolescence looks much like psychopathy in adulthood. Research utilizing recently created juvenile psychopathy indices demonstrates that juvenile psychopathy can be assessed reliably and that the nomological network surrounding the construct is quite similar to the one around adult psychopathy. Juvenile psychopathy is robustly related to offending, other externalizing problems, low levels of Agreeableness and Conscientiousness, and deficits in emotional processing and inhibition. Juvenile psychopathy is also relatively stable across adolescence. Much less research has examined from whence psychopathy comes, although several theories are reviewed. We close with a discussion of recent objections to the downward developmental extension of psychopathy to juveniles and some suggestions for additional research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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