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Early maladaptive schemas in relation to facets of psychopathy and institutional violence in offenders with personality disorders

Authors

  • Farid Chakhssi,

    Corresponding author
    1. Forensic Psychiatric Center de Rooyse Wissel, Conrisq Group, Venray, The Netherlands
    2. Department of Clinical Psychological Science, Maastricht University, The Netherlands
    • Correspondence should be addressed to Farid Chakhssi, Forensic Psychiatric Center de Rooyse Wissel, Conrisq Group, P.O. Box 433, 5800 AK Venray, The Netherlands (email: fchakhssi@derooysewissel.nl).

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  • David Bernstein,

    1. Forensic Psychiatric Center de Rooyse Wissel, Conrisq Group, Venray, The Netherlands
    2. Department of Clinical Psychological Science, Maastricht University, The Netherlands
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  • Corine de Ruiter

    1. Department of Clinical Psychological Science, Maastricht University, The Netherlands
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Abstract

Purpose

Current knowledge suggests that the psychopathy construct is multifaceted in nature, and reflects different underlying pathological mechanisms, including neurobiological dysfunction and maladaptive cognitions. Although many contemporary studies focus on neurobiological aspects of psychopathy, few have addressed the maladaptive cognitions.

Method

In this study, we examined facets of Hare's psychopathy construct in terms of their associations with maladaptive cognitions, as defined by Young's cognitive theory of Early Maladaptive Schemas (EMS). Personality disordered offenders (= 124) were assessed with the PCL-R and the Young Schema Questionnaire.

Results

The PCL-R Lifestyle and Antisocial Facets were significantly related to EMS Mistrust/Abuse and Insufficient Self-Control, consistent with our hypotheses, and were significantly, but negatively, related to EMS Subjugation. Also as hypothesized, EMS showed no associations with the PCL-R Affective and Interpersonal facets. Contrary to our expectation, EMS did not predict institutional violence.

Conclusion

Our findings suggest that schemas relating to mistrust, inadequate self-control/low frustration tolerance, and autonomy/dominance, play a role in the impulsive lifestyle and antisocial behaviour features of psychopathy. Treatments that focus on ameliorating these schemas may lead to better outcomes in psychopathic offenders.

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