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Psychopathic costs: a monetization study of the fiscal toll of psychopathy features among institutionalized delinquents

Matt DeLisi (Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA)
Dennis E. Reidy (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA)
Mark H. Heirigs (Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA)
Jennifer J. Tostlebe (University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA)
Michael G. Vaughn (Saint Louis University, St Louis, MO, USA)

Journal of Criminal Psychology

ISSN: 2009-3829

Article publication date: 18 December 2017

Issue publication date: 11 April 2018



That psychopathy imposes substantial societal costs and economic burden is axiomatic, but monetization studies have overlooked cost estimates of the disorder. The paper aims to discuss these issues.


Drawing on a near census of institutionalized delinquents from Missouri, the current study devised new crime cost measures for self-reported offending.


Youth imposed $30 million in total costs annually in large part due to extensive involvement in robbery, theft, and assault. The most criminally active youth imposed costs in excess of $700 million. Psychopathy features were differentially correlated with crime costs. APSD-SR callous-unemotional traits, mPPI-SF Blame Externalization, mPPI-SF Machiavellian Egocentricity, and mPPI-SF Social Potency were significantly associated with between four and five crime costs. Psychopathic traits associated with ruthless self-interest, callousness, and expectations to control and dominate others manifest in diverse ways including serious violence and repeated property crime. Other features such as mPPI-SF Impulsive Nonconformity, mPPI-SF Stress Immunity, mPPI-SF Coldheartedness, mPPI-SF Carefree Nonplanfulness, mPPI-SF Fearlessness, APSD-SR Impulsivity, and APSD-SR Narcissism had limited associations with crime costs.


To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first monetization study to quantify the effects of assorted psychopathy features on crime costs.



Declaration: Authors DeLisi, Reidy, Heirigs, Tostlebe, and Vaughn did not receive grant funds, speaker honoraria, or stock/royalty income for this study and declare no conflicts of interest.


DeLisi, M., Reidy, D.E., Heirigs, M.H., Tostlebe, J.J. and Vaughn, M.G. (2018), "Psychopathic costs: a monetization study of the fiscal toll of psychopathy features among institutionalized delinquents", Journal of Criminal Psychology, Vol. 8 No. 2, pp. 112-124.



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