Psychopathic Traits: Trajectories in Adolescence

MedicalResearch.com Interview with

Selma Salihovic, Doctoral student
Center for Developmental Research
Örebro University

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Salihovic: Although previous research has examined the stability of psychopathic traits, our study offer a more nuanced perspective on development. Rather than asking whether psychopathic traits simply increase or decrease in adolescence, we asked about patterns of change for youths with different initial level of psychopathic traits. In this way, we could tease apart those youths with extreme levels from those with low and more transient levels, and follow their unique trajectories over four years. We could see that even among the youths with the highest levels there was a decreasing trend in two out of three core aspects of psychopathy. Although the degree of change was small, it was still a naturally occurring pattern for these youths, which raises the question whether an intervention designed to reduce these levels would have provided even a steeper decrease.

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