Psychopathic personality traits in relational aggression among young adults


  • An earlier version of this article was presented to the Southeastern Psychological Association Conference in Chattanooga, TN, March 2010.


Psychopathy is a robust predictor of overt physical aggression that may also be relevant to relational aggression (RA). This study was conducted to investigate the utility of psychopathic personality traits in the prediction of RA in a sample of 291 college students. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses indicated that both primary and secondary psychopathic traits explained additional variance in general/peer and romantic RA beyond physical aggressiveness. Consistent with previous research, no gender differences were found on either form of RA, challenging the popular stereotype of RA as a female behavior. Moreover, psychopathic traits were not differentially predictive of RA by gender or level of physical aggressiveness. Implications of these findings for research and clinical practice are discussed. Aggr. Behav. 37:207–214, 2011. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.