The objectives are to explore: (1) the association between psychopathy and self-rated quality of life; and (2) the possible role of childhood hyperactivity on the relationships between Psychopathy Checklist (PCL) scores and self-rated domains of Quality of Life (QoL). Male subjects with a history of criminality at age 11–14 years (n = 108) and matched controls (n = 59) from a Swedish longitudinal project were studied. Self-rated QoL domains of psychological health, family relationships and work satisfaction were dichotomized and used as dependent variables in calculations of odds ratios (ORs) with dichotomized PCL scores as the independent variable, as assessed at age 38–41. The results showed that for each of the three QoL domains, the proportion of individuals that reported dissatisfaction was significantly higher in both criminals and controls characterized by psychopathic tendencies (PT) compared with the groups with no psychopathic tendencies. Furthermore, the results revealed higher strata-specific risk of dissatisfaction among the PT individuals for two of the domains: psychological health (OR = 6.58) and work satisfaction (OR = 7.98). Childhood hyperactivity individuals were overrepresented in the PT group. However, hyperactivity did not confound the association between PCL and QoL. The results are discussed in the light of possible treatment implications. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.