Reducing psychopathic violence: A review of the treatment literature✩
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Reducing psychopathic violence: A review of the treatment literature✩

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  • Alternative Title:
    Aggress Violent Behav
  • Description:
    Psychopathy reflects a pathological form of personality that predisposes individuals to risk for perpetration of chronic and severe violence across their lifespan. The violence attributable to psychopathic persons constitutes a substantial portion of the societal burden to the public health and criminal justice systems and thus necessitates significant attention by prevention experts. However, there is a relatively nascent literature that has examined psychopathic persons' response to treatment, especially considering violence as an outcome. Nevertheless, there have been repeated averments about the amenability (or lack thereof) of psychopathy to treatment. In the present paper, we attempt to provide a comprehensive review of studies assessing the relation of psychopathy to violence outcomes following intervention. Our review of studies suggests there is reason to suspect that specific and tailored interventions which take into consideration psychopathic persons' unique patterns of behavioral conditioning and predispositions may have the potential to reduce violence. However, equally important, certain interventions may potentially exacerbate these persons' violent behavior. The nature of the outcomes is likely highly dependent on the specific components of the intervention itself. We conclude that future research should increase methodological rigor by striving to include treatment control groups and increasing the transparency of the implemented interventions.
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