Date of Degree

9-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Psychology

Advisor

Cathy Spatz Widom

Committee Members

Chitra Raghavan

Andrew Shiva

Shuki Cohen

Carlton Jama Adams

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology | Other Psychology | Social Psychology

Keywords

Psychopathy, culture, Arab, Lebanese, antisocial, trauma

Abstract

Psychopathy has been primarily investigated in forensic and psychiatric populations in North America. Cross-cultural studies, mainly conducted in Europe, have shown disparities in psychopathy scores and the measures’ psychometric properties, which raise the issue of cultural factors, such as individualism-collectivism, values, and different ways of emotional expression, and the impact of these cultural factors on the construct and its manifestation. Psychopathy has been rarely explored in Arab populations. This dissertation examines the construct of psychopathy among Lebanese adults, to assess its meaning, relevance, and utility among this population and compares the responses of Lebanese to American adults. The design of this study involves: 1) a comparison of Lebanese and American adults on measures of psychopathy and its correlates and 2) an examination of the associations between the affective and behavioral correlates of psychopathy, such as impulsivity, antisocial traits, empathy, contextualism, and trauma, in both the Lebanese and American samples. Participants (N=139) included 53 males and 86 females, 59 Lebanese, 75 American, and 5 with dual-nationality who completed a survey either on-line or in-person. Results showed group differences: Americans scored higher than Lebanese on psychopathy, all the sub-scales of the Hare Self-Report Psychopathy Scale, antisocial traits, and trauma and lower than Lebanese on empathy. Only in the total sample, and not within the groups, the Callous Trait was found to be a mediator between trauma and psychopathy. Males in both groups scored higher than females on psychopathy and all the Hare Self-Report Psychopathy Scale subscales. Finally, limitations of this research, implications for the utility and relevance of the construct, and directions for future research are addressed.

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