To assess the preliminary efficacy of the PSYCHOPATHY.COMP in reducing psychopathic traits among male detained youth.
In this controlled trial, a treatment group (n = 24) and a control group (n = 22) answered the Youth Psychopathic Traits Inventory-Short at baseline and post-treatment. Treatment participants attended the PSYCHOPATHY.COMP, in addition to the Treatment As Usual (TAU); controls only received TAU. The treatment effects were tested both at a group level (2 × 2 mixed ANOVA) and at an individual level (Reliable Change Index; RCI).
ANOVAs showed medium to large effect sizes (η2p), while RCIs revealed strong to moderate effect sizes (Cramer’s V).
Despite the limitations, this study offered preliminary evidence for the efficacy of the PSYCHOPATHY.COMP, suggesting that interventions targeting psychopathic traits should be considered in the rehabilitation of detained youth, as the absence of tailored interventions may increase the levels of psychopathic traits and its associated risks.
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Please note that there are several conceptualizations of psychopathic traits in youthful populations as well as several measurement tools attuned to the underpinning conceptualization. For a recent and in-depth discussion on this topic, see Salekin et al. (2018).
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Assumptions were checked prior to the analysis—no assumptions were violated; Shapiro-Wilk tests all p > .05; Levene’s tests—all p > .05
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The authors want to thank to all youth enrolled in this study and to the staff members of the detention facilities.
This research has been supported by the first author PhD Grant (SFRH/BD/99795/2014), sponsored by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT). This work was also financed by FEDER—European Social Fund—through the COMPETE 2020–Operational Program for Competitiveness and Internationalization (POCI) and by Portuguese funds through FCT in the framework of the project POCI-01-0145-FEDER-016724.
This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the University of Coimbra, by the Portuguese Data Protection Authority, and by the Portuguese Ministry of Justice. Participants older than 18 years gave verbal and written consent for their own participation, and participants younger than 18 years verbally assented to their own participation in addition to their parents/legal guardians’ written consent.
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Ribeiro da Silva, D., Rijo, D., Salekin, R.T. et al. Clinical change in psychopathic traits after the PSYCHOPATHY.COMP program: preliminary findings of a controlled trial with male detained youth. J Exp Criminol (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11292-020-09418-x
- Compassion focused therapy
- Conduct disorder
- Detained youth
- Individual psychotherapeutic interventions
- Juvenile justice system
- Psychopathic traits