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Personality factors related to treatment discontinuation in a high secure personality disorder treatment service

Alice L. Bennett (Psychology Department, Westgate Personality Disorder Treatment Service, Durham, UK)

Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice

ISSN: 2056-3841

Article publication date: 9 March 2015




The purpose of this paper is to explore the range of personality disorder diagnoses and levels of psychopathy as assessed by the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) associated with treatment discontinuation in a sample of adult male prisoners.


Data from 92 male offenders in a high secure prison personality disorder treatment unit was analysed. PCL-R and personality disorder diagnoses were predicted as being related to increased treatment dropout.


Having a diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder was related to treatment dropout, but PCL-R total scores were not. There was a trend for a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder being associated with remaining in treatment.

Research limitations/implications

The current study highlights that narcissistic personality disorder can be associated with treatment dropout, warranting further exploration as to why this is the case.

Practical implications

Managing responsivity issues for those presenting with a personality disorder diagnosis could be effective in maximising treatment engagement from this specific offender group.


Although treatment dropout has been explored previously, this is the first study to explore treatment dropout at a specialised unit designed specifically to provide treatment for this client group.



Bennett, A.L. (2015), "Personality factors related to treatment discontinuation in a high secure personality disorder treatment service", Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 29-36.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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