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Psychopathy and criminal behaviour: a psychosocial research perspective

Katie Dhingra (Researcher at University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK)
Daniel Boduszek (Lecturer at University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK)

Journal of Criminal Psychology

ISSN: 2009-3829

Article publication date: 20 September 2013




This paper aims to provide a critical review of the psychopathy literature, with a particular focus on recent research examining the relationship between psychopathy and various forms of criminal behaviour.


The authors provide an overview of the studies conducted to date. To identify relevant published studies for this review, literature searches were completed using Web of Science, Scopus, PsychINFO, and PubMed.


Substantial empirical research exists to suggest that psychopathy is a robust predictor of criminal behaviour and recidivism. Furthermore, considerable support for the assertion that the violence perpetrated by psychopathic offenders is more instrumental than the violence committed by other offenders was found. In addition, some research suggests that the greater use of instrumental violence among psychopathic offenders may be due to the interpersonal/affective traits of psychopathy, and not the impulsive/antisocial traits.


The current paper is the first to provide an in‐depth review of the literature examining the association between psychopathy and criminal offending with a particular focus on violent and homicidal behaviour.



Dhingra, K. and Boduszek, D. (2013), "Psychopathy and criminal behaviour: a psychosocial research perspective", Journal of Criminal Psychology, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 83-107.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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