Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 85, Issue 4, pp 497–511 | Cite as

Psychopathic Personality Traits and Their Influence on Parenting Quality: Results from a Nationally Representative Sample of Americans

  • Kevin M. Beaver
  • Christian da Silva Costa
  • Ana Paula Poersch
  • Micheli Cristina Freddi
  • Mônica Celis Stelmach
  • Eric J. Connolly
  • Joseph A. Schwartz
Original Article


Psychopathic personality traits have consistently been found to predict a range of negative and dysfunctional outcomes. As a result, it is somewhat surprising that the research to date has failed to empirically examine the potential association between psychopathic personality traits and parenting quality. The current study addressed this omission in the literature by analyzing a community sample of adults. The results revealed that respondents scoring higher on psychopathic personality traits tended to report more negative parenting quality. These results were detected for both males and females and remained significant even after controlling for the effects of parental transmission and child-effects. To our knowledge, this is the first study to show a statistically significant association between psychopathic personality traits and parenting quality. We conclude with a discussion of what these findings mean for psychopathy research and the parenting the literature.


Add Health Antisocial Parenting Psychopathic personality traits Psychopathy 



This research uses data from Add Health, a program project designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris, and funded by a grant P01-HD31921 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperative funding from 17 other agencies. Special acknowledgment is due to Ronald R. Rindfuss and Barbara Entwisle for assistance in the original design. Persons interested in obtaining data files from Add Health should contact Add Health, Carolina Population Center, 123 W. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516-2524 ( No direct support was received from grant P01-HD31921 for this analysis.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin M. Beaver
    • 1
    • 2
  • Christian da Silva Costa
    • 3
  • Ana Paula Poersch
    • 3
  • Micheli Cristina Freddi
    • 3
  • Mônica Celis Stelmach
    • 3
  • Eric J. Connolly
    • 1
  • Joseph A. Schwartz
    • 4
  1. 1.College of Criminology and Criminal JusticeFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.Center for Social and Humanities ResearchKing Abdulaziz UniversityJeddahSaudi Arabia
  3. 3.Centre for the Study of Criminal BehaviorSão PauloBrazil
  4. 4.School of Criminology and Criminal JusticeUniversity of Nebraska at OmahaLincolnUSA

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