Date of Degree

9-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Psychology

Advisor(s)

Michele Galietta

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology

Keywords

antisocial personality disorder; borderline personality; psychopathy; secondary psychopathy

Abstract

The literature suggests substantial overlap between secondary psychopathy and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). The current study evaluates the degree of construct overlap between BPD and secondary psychopathy within a sample of offenders mandated to treatment in the community. Diagnostic overlap and associations with clinically relevant correlates were assessed to estimate the degree of convergence between the two disorders and divergence from primary psychopathy. The goal of this study was to evaluate the pragmatic utility of maintaining discrete diagnostic categories for secondary psychopathy and BPD rather than identifying secondary psychopaths as offenders with BPD. The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis II Personality Disorders (SCID-II) was used to assess borderline and other personality disorder traits. The Psychopathy Checklist: Screening Version (PCL:SV) was used to assess both primary and secondary psychopathic traits. The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders (SCID-I) was used to assess a variety of clinical correlates including symptoms of mental illness and substance abuse. In addition, self-report measures were used to assess anger (State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory, STAXI), aggression (Aggression Questionnaire, AQ), rumination (White Bear Suppression Inventory, WBSI), and empathy (Questionnaire Measure of Emotional Empathy, QMEE). Potential construct overlap was supported through significant symptom correlations and similarities in participant classification. Substantial parallels in constellations of clinical correlates were supported through a series of multiple regression analyses. The findings indicate that despite a few key differences BPD and secondary psychopathy share many clinical features. More importantly, these commonalities are in general contrast to features of primary psychopathy.

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