Psychopathy and Low Anxiety

Meta-Analytic Evidence for the Absence of Inhibition, Not Affect

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Despite historical conviction that the psychopath is low-anxious, contemporary research remains equivocal. An examination of the literature suggests that the lack of consensus may be due to problems with the conceptualization of "psychopathic low anxiety." It was hypothesized that ambiguous relations could be clarified by parsing the psychopathic low anxiety construct into more discrete components: anxiety, fear, and constraint. The current study examined the relations between psychopathy and these three different low anxiety conceptualizations through three meta-analyses. Results indicated that anxiety and fear were negligibly related to psychopathy Total. In contrast, constraint demonstrated a medium negative relation with psychopathy Total. Relations showed divergence across psychopathy factor scores. Anxiety, fear, and constraint were all negatively related to Factor 1 scores, whereas anxiety was positively related, and constraint negatively related, to Factor 2 scores. These meta-analytic findings suggest that although psychopathic individuals have deficits in inhibition/constraint, they do not necessarily exhibit a consistent absence of negative affect. This interpretation is consistent with predictions regarding the personality correlates of the factors of psychopathy, indicating that while constraint composes a large part of psychopathy assessments, it is less clear how much anxiety lends to the construct.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)693-709
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Personality
Volume83
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

Fingerprint

Anxiety
Fear
Inhibition (Psychology)
Personality
Meta-Analysis
Consensus
Research

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology

Cite this

Psychopathy and Low Anxiety : Meta-Analytic Evidence for the Absence of Inhibition, Not Affect. / Derefinko, Karen.

In: Journal of Personality, Vol. 83, No. 6, 01.12.2015, p. 693-709.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{e0f5511fca1646e68dd36f023f3db42f,
title = "Psychopathy and Low Anxiety: Meta-Analytic Evidence for the Absence of Inhibition, Not Affect",
abstract = "Despite historical conviction that the psychopath is low-anxious, contemporary research remains equivocal. An examination of the literature suggests that the lack of consensus may be due to problems with the conceptualization of {"}psychopathic low anxiety.{"} It was hypothesized that ambiguous relations could be clarified by parsing the psychopathic low anxiety construct into more discrete components: anxiety, fear, and constraint. The current study examined the relations between psychopathy and these three different low anxiety conceptualizations through three meta-analyses. Results indicated that anxiety and fear were negligibly related to psychopathy Total. In contrast, constraint demonstrated a medium negative relation with psychopathy Total. Relations showed divergence across psychopathy factor scores. Anxiety, fear, and constraint were all negatively related to Factor 1 scores, whereas anxiety was positively related, and constraint negatively related, to Factor 2 scores. These meta-analytic findings suggest that although psychopathic individuals have deficits in inhibition/constraint, they do not necessarily exhibit a consistent absence of negative affect. This interpretation is consistent with predictions regarding the personality correlates of the factors of psychopathy, indicating that while constraint composes a large part of psychopathy assessments, it is less clear how much anxiety lends to the construct.",
author = "Karen Derefinko",
year = "2015",
month = "12",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1111/jopy.12124",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "83",
pages = "693--709",
journal = "Journal of Personality",
issn = "0022-3506",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",
number = "6",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Psychopathy and Low Anxiety

T2 - Meta-Analytic Evidence for the Absence of Inhibition, Not Affect

AU - Derefinko, Karen

PY - 2015/12/1

Y1 - 2015/12/1

N2 - Despite historical conviction that the psychopath is low-anxious, contemporary research remains equivocal. An examination of the literature suggests that the lack of consensus may be due to problems with the conceptualization of "psychopathic low anxiety." It was hypothesized that ambiguous relations could be clarified by parsing the psychopathic low anxiety construct into more discrete components: anxiety, fear, and constraint. The current study examined the relations between psychopathy and these three different low anxiety conceptualizations through three meta-analyses. Results indicated that anxiety and fear were negligibly related to psychopathy Total. In contrast, constraint demonstrated a medium negative relation with psychopathy Total. Relations showed divergence across psychopathy factor scores. Anxiety, fear, and constraint were all negatively related to Factor 1 scores, whereas anxiety was positively related, and constraint negatively related, to Factor 2 scores. These meta-analytic findings suggest that although psychopathic individuals have deficits in inhibition/constraint, they do not necessarily exhibit a consistent absence of negative affect. This interpretation is consistent with predictions regarding the personality correlates of the factors of psychopathy, indicating that while constraint composes a large part of psychopathy assessments, it is less clear how much anxiety lends to the construct.

AB - Despite historical conviction that the psychopath is low-anxious, contemporary research remains equivocal. An examination of the literature suggests that the lack of consensus may be due to problems with the conceptualization of "psychopathic low anxiety." It was hypothesized that ambiguous relations could be clarified by parsing the psychopathic low anxiety construct into more discrete components: anxiety, fear, and constraint. The current study examined the relations between psychopathy and these three different low anxiety conceptualizations through three meta-analyses. Results indicated that anxiety and fear were negligibly related to psychopathy Total. In contrast, constraint demonstrated a medium negative relation with psychopathy Total. Relations showed divergence across psychopathy factor scores. Anxiety, fear, and constraint were all negatively related to Factor 1 scores, whereas anxiety was positively related, and constraint negatively related, to Factor 2 scores. These meta-analytic findings suggest that although psychopathic individuals have deficits in inhibition/constraint, they do not necessarily exhibit a consistent absence of negative affect. This interpretation is consistent with predictions regarding the personality correlates of the factors of psychopathy, indicating that while constraint composes a large part of psychopathy assessments, it is less clear how much anxiety lends to the construct.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84958775102&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84958775102&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1111/jopy.12124

DO - 10.1111/jopy.12124

M3 - Article

VL - 83

SP - 693

EP - 709

JO - Journal of Personality

JF - Journal of Personality

SN - 0022-3506

IS - 6

ER -