Psychosocial Contributions to Psychopathy and Violence

  • Joan McCord


Many, perhaps most, psychopaths are sometimes violent. Psychopaths also count heavily among criminally violent populations (Hare & McPherson, 1984). Because of this strong overlap between psychopathy and violent criminals, research regarding the contributions that psychological and social conditions make to the one are confounded by their contributions to the other. Nevertheless, it is well to attempt identification of the psychopaths among those who are violent. Failure to make such identification confounds disease with its symptoms. Imagine, as a parallel, attempting to find the causes and cures for fevers without looking for underlying differentiation based on clusters of concomitant symptoms. One ought not expect the same correlates or causes for violence among psychopaths and violence among others. Nor is it likely that the means for preventing violence will be the same for people motivated in different ways. Therefore, the identification of psychopaths among those who are violent is likely to contribute to a clearer understanding of the causes of violence and to its control.


Antisocial Behavior Criminal Behavior Construct Theory Physical Punishment Parental Rejection 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joan McCord
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Criminal JusticeTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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