Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine.
Juvenile psychopathy and judicial decision making: an empirical analysis of an ethical dilemma
Version of Record online: 14 MAR 2008
Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Behavioral Sciences & the Law
Special Issue: Current Directions
Volume 26, Issue 2, pages 151–165, March/April 2008
How to Cite
Jones, S. and Cauffman, Ph.D., E. (2008), Juvenile psychopathy and judicial decision making: an empirical analysis of an ethical dilemma. Behav. Sci. Law, 26: 151–165. doi: 10.1002/bsl.792
- Issue online: 14 MAR 2008
- Version of Record online: 14 MAR 2008
In the burgeoning juvenile psychopathy literature, there is a debate on whether it is appropriate to apply this construct to youths. Some have suggested that labeling children/adolescents as psychopathic might result in negative consequences, such as being recommended for more restrictive placements. However, the scant evidence is equivocal. This study provides additional insights on this issue by assessing judicial perceptions and recommendations to a hypothetical case. Results indicate that psychopathy influenced perceptions of amenability (η = .12) and dangerousness (η = .25), and recommendations for placement (η = .11). More specifically, youth who were both labeled as psychopathic and ascribed psychopathic traits were viewed as less amenable to treatment and more dangerous and were more likely to be recommended for a restrictive placement than youth who were neither labeled nor described as such. The effect of psychopathy on placement recommendations, however, was not significant after controlling for perceptions of dangerous. This suggests that the influence of psychopathy on judicial restrictiveness may operate through the perceived dangerousness of the youth. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.