Despite growing interest in psychopathic personality features in juvenile offenders, few studies have examined the relationship between childhood trauma and psychopathy. The present study utilized two datasets: 253 adolescents in a residential facility for juvenile offenders in Pennsylvania and 723 institutionalized delinquents in Missouri. Zero-order correlations and linear regression techniques were employed for boys and girls to examine the relationships between trauma, assessed using the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument Version 2 (MAYSI-2) Traumatic Experiences Scale and the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ), and psychopathy as measured by the Youth Psychopathic Traits Inventory (YPI) and the Psychopathic Personality Inventory–Short Form (PPI-SF). Results indicate that psychopathy is significantly correlated with childhood trauma. For the Missouri data, trauma significantly predicted psychopathy scores for both boys and girls. These results suggest that nuanced understanding of traumatic history of these adolescents may not only be a pathway to psychopathy but also a critical part of their overall assessment and treatment plan.
Anne S. J. Farina, Katherine J. Holzer, Matt DeLisi, Michael G. Vaughn
International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, March 30, 2018