The Relationship Between Psychopathic Traits and Criminal Success, Criminal Behavior, and Aggression

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jamie Taylor Byas (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Twila Wingrove

Abstract: Researchers have consistently found a strong relationship between criminal behavior and psychopathic traits. However, researchers have yet to investigate potential differences in psychopathic traits among those who engage in criminal behavior and are apprehended by law enforcement versus those who elude arrest while still committing crimes. Given the characteristics associated with primary and secondary psychopathic traits, this thesis had two aims. The first aim was to obtain a better understanding of the potentially differential relations between the psychopathy dimensions and criminal success. The second was to examine the potentially differential relationships between the psychopathy variants and violent crime, non-violent crime, instrumental aggression, and reactive aggression. The results did not support the hypotheses that primary or secondary psychopathic traits relate to criminal success. I predicted that primary traits would be positively and significantly related to self-reported violent crime because of the decreased sensitivity to aversive stimuli (i.e., Low Behavioral Inhibition System) associated with primary traits, while secondary traits would be unrelated to violent crime. Based on prior research, I expected both primary and secondary traits to positively relate to non-violent crimes. The results provided partial support for these hypotheses. Limitations and future directions are discussed.

Additional Information

Byas, J. (2019). The Relationship Between Psychopathic Traits and Criminal Success, Criminal Behavior, and Aggression. Unpublished Master’s Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2019
Criminal Behavior, Psychopathic traits, Arrests Aggression, Violent Crime

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