Being unwanted and other very early predictors of adult psychopathy

Journal article


Zara, G., Bergstrom, H. and Farrington, D. P. 2023. Being unwanted and other very early predictors of adult psychopathy. Journal of Criminal Psychology.. pp. 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCP-01-2023-0002
AuthorsZara, G., Bergstrom, H. and Farrington, D. P.
Abstract

This paper aims to present new evidence from the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development (CSDD) showing the extent to which obstetric (e.g. abnormal birth weight, confinement at birth, severe abnormality of pregnancy, etc.) and early childhood and family factors (illegitimate child, unwanted conception, family overcrowding, etc.) have predictive effects on psychopathic traits measured later in life at age 48 years. Data collected in the CSDD are analysed. This is a prospective longitudinal study of 411 London men from age 8 to age 61 years. The results suggest that none of the obstetric problems were predictive of adult psychopathy. However, some other early childhood factors were significant. Unwanted conception (by the mother) was significantly associated with high psychopathy. The likelihood of being an unwanted child was higher when the mother was younger (19 years or less), and when the child was illegitimate. The poor health of the mother and living in an overcrowded family were also significant in predicting psychopathy in adulthood, as well as both psychopathic personality (F1) and psychopathic behaviour (F2). These findings suggest the influence of very early emotional tensions and problematic social background in predicting psychopathic traits in adulthood (at age 48 years). They also emphasise the importance of investigating further the very early roots of psychopathic traits.

KeywordsPsychopathy; Attachment; Longitudinal study; Prevention; Early risk factors; Obstetric factors
Year2023
JournalJournal of Criminal Psychology.
Journal citationpp. 1-15
PublisherEmerald
ISSN2009-3829
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1108/JCP-01-2023-0002
Web address (URL)https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/JCP-01-2023-0002/full/html
Accepted author manuscript
File Access Level
Open
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online13 Mar 2023
Publication process dates
Accepted06 Feb 2023
Deposited20 Mar 2023
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https://repository.derby.ac.uk/item/9xvwv/-being-unwanted-and-other-very-early-predictors-of-adult-psychopathy

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