Personality Characteristics Associated with Different Criminal Typologies in a Sample of Spanish Inmates


The objective of this research is to study the personality characteristics of a sample of men and women who are serving prison sentences in Spanish prisons, to determine their distinguishing characteristics, and to analyze whether the personality traits are related to the type of crime for which they are condemned. The sample is composed of 294 inmates (265 men and 29 women) (M = 41.20; SD = 10.51). The results indicate that the main crime for which they are imprison is for acts against property that involve violence or threat of violence against people (30.4%); to a lesser extent, acts that involve the use of psychoactive substances or other drugs (19.8%); acts that cause harm or that are intended to cause harm to people (17.9%); and acts that cause death or are intended to cause death (13.9%). Paranoia is the personality trait that most predicts criminal behaviors consisting of acts against people (homicide, injuries, and threats). Acts against property involving violence or threat against a person are more likely in people who have problems with alcohol and antisocial behavior. Finally, borderline personality traits are associated more with acts involving controlled psychoactive substances or other drugs.

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All authors listed have made a substantial, direct, and intellectual contribution to the work and approved it for publication.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to María Penado Abilleira.

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Ethics Statement

This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the University of Coruña (Spain). Data were processed in compliance with the Spanish Data Protection Law. All subjects gave written informed consent in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Penado Abilleira, M., Rodicio-García, M.L. Personality Characteristics Associated with Different Criminal Typologies in a Sample of Spanish Inmates. J Police Crim Psych 35, 219–227 (2020).

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  • Crime
  • Inmate
  • Personality traits
  • Prison sentences
  • Psychological characteristics