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Early identification of chronic offenders: who is the fledgling psychopath?

by D R Lynam
Psychological bulletin ()

Abstract

In this article, the author highlights the need for early intervention for chronic offenders. He reviews evidence suggesting that children who manifest symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity-attention problems (HIA) and conduct problems (CP) are at the greatest risk for chronic offending. He reviews existing theories of the relations among constructs: (a) HIA increases risk in those already at risk and (b) HIA leads to symptoms of CP. In addition, he advances a third theory that children with symptoms of HIA and CP are afflicted with a virulent strain of conduct disorder best described as fledgling psychopathy. The author discusses treatment implications and supporting evidence for each model. Finally, he recommends that the subtype theory receive further consideration and examination.

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