, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 489-497

The Importance of Child and Adolescent Psychopathy

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In commenting on the five articles in this special issue, this paper discusses (1) the concept of child and adolescent psychopathy, and whether adolescent psychopaths are qualitatively distinct from other young people; (2) the measurement of adolescent psychopathy; (3) the relationship between psychopathy and other personality dimensions; (4) childhood risk factors for psychopathy; (5) psychopathy in the context of risk factors for delinquency; and (6) the prevention and treatment of adolescent psychopathy. It is argued that the three dimensions of an arrogant, deceitful interpersonal style, deficient affective experience, and an impulsive or irresponsible behavioral style are most important at present in the definition of psychopathy. An ambitious research agenda is recommended, investigating the concept of adolescent psychopathy, developing new measures, conducting new longitudinal studies on development and risk factors, and mounting new randomized experiments on prevention and treatment.