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

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Add Health Antisocial Parenting Psychopathic personality traits Psychopathy 

References

  1. 1.
    Asscher JJ, van Vugt, ES, Stams GJJ, Deković M, Eichelsheim VI, Yousfi S: The relationship between juvenile psychopathic traits, delinquency and (violent) recidivism: A meta‐analysis. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 52:1134–1143, 2011.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Beaver KM: The effects of genetics, the environment, and low self-control on perceived maternal and paternal socialization: Results from a longitudinal sample of twins. Journal of Quantitative Criminology 27:85–105, 2011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Beaver KM, Barnes JC, May JS, Schwartz JA: Psychopathic personality traits, genetic risk, and gene-environment correlations. Criminal Justice and Behavior 38:896–912, 2011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Beaver KM, Belsky J: Gene-environment interaction and the intergenerational transmission of parenting: Testing the differential-susceptibility hypothesis. Psychiatric Quarterly 83:29–40, 2012.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Beaver KM, Vaughn MG, DeLisi M: Nonshared environmental effects on adulthood psychopathic personality traits: Results from a monozygotic twin difference scores analysis. Psychiatric Quarterly 84:381–393, 2013.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Beaver KM, Vaughn MG, DeLisi M, Barnes JC, Boutwell BB: The neuropsychological underpinnings to psychopathic personality traits in a nationally representative and longitudinal sample. Psychiatric Quarterly 83:145–159, 2012.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Belsky J: The determinants of parenting: A process model. Child Development 55:83–96, 1984.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Belsky J, Conger R, Capaldi DM: The intergenerational transmission of parenting: Introduction to the special section. Developmental Psychology 45:1201–1204, 2009.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Blais J, Solodukhin E, Forth AE: A meta-analysis exploring the relationship between psychopathy and instrumental versus reactive violence. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 2014. doi:10.1177/0093854813519629.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Coplan RJ, Reichel M, Rowan K: Exploring the association between maternal personality, child temperament, and parenting: A focus on emotions. Personality and Individual Differences 46:241–246, 2009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Conger RD, Belsky J, Capaldi DM: The intergenerational transmission of parenting: closing comments for the special section. Developmental Psychology 45:1276, 2009.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    DeLisi M, Vaughn M, Beaver KM, Wexler J, Barth AE, Fletcher JM: Fledgling psychopathy in the classroom: ADHD subtypes, psychopathy, and reading comprehension in a community sample of adolescents. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice 9:43–58, 2011.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Farrington DP: The importance of child and adolescent psychopathy. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 33:489–497, 2005.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Farrington DP: Family Background and Psychopathy. In: Patrick CJ (Ed) Handbook of Psychopathy. New York, Guilford, pp. 229–250, 2006.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Farrington DP, Jolliffe D, Loeber R, Stouthamer-Loeber M, Kalb LM: The concentration of offenders in families, and family criminality in the prediction of boys’ delinquency. Journal of Adolescence 24:579–596, 2001.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Farrington DP, Welsh BC: Saving Children from a Life of Crime: Early Risk Factors and Effective Interventions. New York, Oxford, 2007.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Guy LS, Edens JF, Anthony C, Douglas KS: Does psychopathy predict institutional misconduct among adults? A meta-analytic investigation. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 73:1056, 2005.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Hare RD: Psychopathy a clinical construct whose time has come.Criminal justice and behavior 23:25–54, 1996.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Harris JR: The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the Way They do. New York, Free Press, 1998.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Harris KM, Florey T, Tabor J, Bearman PS, Jones J, Udry JR: The national longitudinal study of adolescent health: research design, 2009. http://www.cpc.unc.edu/projects/addhealth/design. Accessed 29 June 2014
  21. 21.
    Harris KM, Halpern CT, Smolen A, Haberstick BC: The national longitudinal study of adolescent health (Add Health) twin data. Twin Research and Human Genetics 9:988–997, 2006.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Hawes DJ, Dadds MR: Stability and malleability of callous-unemotional traits during treatment for childhood conduct problems. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology 36:347–355, 2007.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Hawes DJ, Dadds MR, Frost AD, Hasking PA: Do childhood callous-unemotional traits drive change in parenting practices? Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology 40:507–518, 2011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Huver RME, Otten R, de Vries H, Engeles CMER: Personality and parenting style in parents of adolescents. Journal of Adolescence 33:395–402, 2010.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Jensen AR: The g Factor: The Science of Mental Ability. Westport, Praeger, 1998.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Jensen CL, Champagne FA: Epigenetic and neurodevelopmental perspectives on variation in parenting behavior. Parenting: Science and Practice 12:202–211, 2012.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Karreman A, van Tuijl C, van Aken MAG, Deković M: The relation between parental personality and observed parenting: The moderating role of preschoolers’ effortful control. Personality and Individual Differences 44:723–734, 2008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Langton CM, Barbaree HE, Harkins L, Peacock EJ: Sex offenders’ response to treatment and its association with recidivism as a function of psychopathy. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment 18:99–120, 2006.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Larsson H, Andershed H, Lichtenstein P: A genetic factor explains most of the variation in the psychopathic personality. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 115:221–230, 2006.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Larsson H, Viding E, Rijsdijk FV, Plomin R: Relationships between parental negativity and childhood antisocial behavior over time: A bidirectional effects model in a longitudinal genetically informative design. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 36:633–645, 2008.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Loney BR, Huntenburg A, Counts-Allan C, Schmeelk KM: A preliminary examination of the intergenerational continuity of maternal psychopathic features. Aggressive behavior 33:14–25, 2007.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Lynam DR: Psychopathy from the Perspective of the Five Factor Model. In: Costa PT, Widiger TA (Eds) Personality Disorders and the Five-Factor Model of Personality, 2nd edn. Washington, DC, American Psychological Association, pp. 325–350, 2002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Lynam DR, Caspi A, Moffitt TE, Loeber R, Stouthamer-Loeber M: Longitudinal evidence that psychopathy scores in early adolescence predict adult psychopathy. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 116:155, 2007.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Lynam DR, Charnigo R, Moffitt TE, Raine A, Loeber R, Stouthamer-Loeber M: The stability of psychopathy across adolescence. Development and Psychopathology 21:1133–1153, 2009.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Lynam DR, Derefinko KJ: Psychopathy and Personality. In: Patrick CJ (Ed) Handbook of Psychopathy. New York, Guilford, pp. 133–155, 2006.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Lytton H: Child and parent effects in boys’ conduct disorder: A reinterpretation. Developmental Psychology 26:683–697, 1990.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Mesly O, Maziade R: Bankers and functional psychopathy: The risk of losing everything. The Journal of Wealth Management 16:33–48, 2013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Metsäpelto R-L, Pulkkinen L: Personality traits and parenting: Neuroticism, extraversion, and openness to experience as discriminative factors. European Journal of Personality 17:59–78, 2003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Miller JD, Lynam DR, Widiger T, Leukefeld C: Personality disorders as extreme variants of common personality dimensions: Can the five factor model adequately represent psychopathy? Journal of Personality 69:253–276, 2001.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Miller JD, Rausher S, Hyatt CS, Maples J, Zeichner A: Examining the relations among pain tolerance, psychopathic traits, and violent and nonviolent antisocial behavior. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 2013. doi:10.1037/a0035072.PubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Moffitt TE, Arseneault L, Belsky D, Dickson N, Hancox RJ, Harrington HL, Houts R, Poulton R, Roberts BW, Ross S, Sears MR, Thomson WM, Caspi A: A gradient of childhood self-control predicts health, wealth, and public safety. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108:2693–2698, 2011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Myers WC, Chan HCO, Vo EJ, Lazarou E: Sexual sadism, psychopathy, and recidivism in juvenile sexual murderers. Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling 7:49–58, 2010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Neumann CS, Hare RD: Psychopathic traits in a large community sample: Links to violence, alcohol use, and intelligence. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 76:893, 2008.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Oliver PH, Guerin DW, Coffman JK: Big five personality traits, parenting behaviors, and adolescent behavior problems: A mediation model. Personality and Individual Differences 47:631–636, 2009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Sampson RJ, Laub JH: Crime in the Making: Pathways and Turning Points Through Life. Cambridge, Harvard, 1993.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Serbin L, Karp J: Intergenerational studies of parenting and the transfer of risk from parent to child. Current Directions in Psychological Science 12:138–142, 2003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Seto MC, Barbaree HE: Psychopathy, treatment behavior, and sex offender recidivism. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 14:1235–1248, 1999.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Simons RL, Whitbeck LB, Conger RD, Wu CI: Intergenerational transmission of harsh parenting. Developmental Psychology 27:159–171, 1991.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Smith C, Farrington DP: Continuities in antisocial behavior and parenting across three generations. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 45:230–247, 2004.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Udry JR: The national longitudinal study of adolescent health (Add Health), waves I and II, 1994–1996; wave III, 2001–2002 [machine readable data file and documentation]. Chapel Hill, NC, Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2003.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Ullrich S, Farrington DP, Coid JW: Psychopathic personality traits and life-success. Personality and Individual Differences 44:1162–1171, 2008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Viding E, Blair RJR, Moffitt TE, Plomin R: Evidence for substantial genetic risk for psychopathy in 7-year-olds. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 46:592–597, 2005.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Waldman ID, Rhee SH: Genetic and Environmental Influences on Psychopathy and Antisocial Behavior. In Patrick CJ (Ed) Handbook of Psychopathy. New York, Guilford, pp. 205–228, 2006.Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Walsh Z, Swogger MT, Kosson DS: Psychopathy and instrumental violence: Facet level relationships. Journal of Personality Disorders 23:416–424, 2009.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Wheeler S, Book A, Costello K: Psychopathic traits and perceptions of victim vulnerability. Criminal Justice and Behavior 36:635–648, 2009.Google Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations