Psychopathic traits and adolescents’ delinquency: A short-term longitudinal study – 2018

Delinquency may partly develop as a consequence of psychopathic personality. But, what is the mechanism behind this connection? 150 Cypriot students were asked to complete four questionnaires (Inventory of Parents and Peers Attachment, Bullying and Victimization Questionnaire-Revised, Youth Psychopathic Traits Inventory and Delinquency Scale) in three time periods; (November 2015, February 2016, May 2016). We hypothesized that; (a) psychopathic traits will predict the increase in delinquent behaviour, (b) psychopathic traits at Time 1 will predict a poorer attachment with parents and peers, and an increase in bullying and victimization at Time 2, and this inter alias will predict an increase in delinquency at Time 3. A mediation effect is also hypothesized in this study. Results showed a direct relation between psychopathic traits and delinquency. Full mediation was found with bullying and victimization as mediators. Additionally, the quality of attachment and delinquency is not statistically significant related. The present findings suggest that bullying and victimization are part of the mechanism in the connection between psychopathy and delinquency. In conclusion, results provide important clues for understanding that psychopathic traits are not considered as a determining factor of delinquent behaviour since bullying could be controlled and modified with proper interventions.

Ifigenia Stylianou, Kyriakos Charalampous & Panayiotis Stavrinides
European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 23 Feb 2018