Unique roles of antisocial personality disorder and psychopathic traits in distress tolerance.
Previous research indicates that individuals with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) evidence low distress tolerance, which signifies impaired ability to persist in goal-directed behavior during an aversive situation, and is associated with a variety of poor interpersonal and drug use outcomes. Based on theory and research indicating that psychopathic traits are associated with hypo-reactivity in emotional responding, a unique hypothesis emerges where psychopathic traits should have the opposite effect of ASPD and be related to high levels of distress tolerance. In a sample of 107 substance-dependent patients in an inner-city substance use residential treatment facility, this hypothesis was supported. ASPD was related to lower distress tolerance, while psychopathic traits were related to higher distress tolerance, with each contributing unique variance. Findings are discussed in relation to different presentations of distress tolerance as a function of psychopathic traits among those with an ASPD diagnosis.