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Diagnosing antisocial behavior and psychopathy

Samuel Juni (Professor, based at Department of Applied Psychology, New York University, New York, New York, USA)

Journal of Criminal Psychology

ISSN: 2009-3829

Article publication date: 12 March 2014




Psychopathy and antisocial personality are controversial disorders with alternate behavioral and dynamic formulations. As such, diagnostic approaches are often fragmentary and inconsistent. The purpose of this paper is to delineate the various conceptual parameters and to propose a comprehensive diagnostic approach.


A model is presented based on the congruence and differences among various categories of psychopathic and antisocial personality disorders and their clinical manifestations. Diagnostic approaches are critiqued and evaluated. Specific assessment tools and measures are recommended based on referrals and symptomatology.


Key factors of low frustration tolerance, poor social intelligence, aggression-driven psychopathy, sadism, and superego impairment are shown as central in the differential diagnostics of antisocial individuals.


The model enables the differentiation of problematic behaviors which may appear similar but require different forensic, legal, diagnostic, and intervention strategies.



The clinical data that formed the structure for the analyses in this paper were compiled during three decades of diagnostics with court-remanded criminals and acting out substance abusers, as well as ego function research with antisocial patients.


Juni, S. (2014), "Diagnosing antisocial behavior and psychopathy", Journal of Criminal Psychology, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 76-96.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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