Psychopathic Traits and Delinquency Trajectories in Adolescence



The utility of psychopathic traits predicting various forms of antisocial behavior has been demonstrated extensively. However, there are mixed results concerning which of the three psychopathic personality dimensions—callous and unemotional traits, grandiose and manipulative interpersonal style, impulsive-irresponsible behavior—is the best predictor of antisocial behavior in adolescence. In this study, we examined developmental trajectories of antisocial behavior over four years in adolescence and psychopathic traits as predictors of these trajectories. Participants were 811 adolescents from a longitudinal community sample (M age = 14). Results showed that four trajectories described the development of antisocial behavior from early to middle adolescence in the current sample. Both grandiose-manipulative traits and impulsive-irresponsible behavior were significant predictors of the high and elevated trajectories whereas callous-unemotional traits were not. Our findings underline the importance of studying the dimensions of the psychopathy constructs uniquely and independently of each other.


Psychopathic traits Delinquency Trajectories Adolescence 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical approval

The data used in this study were collected in accordance with the ethical standards of the Swedish Research Council and the ethical principles for research with human participants of the APA and Swedish Psychologists’ Association were upheld. The study, including all instruments and procedures, was approved by the University’s Ethics Review Board.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Conflict of interest

Selma Salihovic and Håkan Stattin declare that they have no conflict of interest, and all have agreed to this submission.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Developmental Research, JPS: PsychologyÖrebro UniversityÖrebroSweden

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