Unresolved controversies concerning psychopathy: Implications for clinical and forensic decision making

  • Edens J
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Abstract

At some point in their careers, clinicians who work or consult in forensic and correctional settings will almost certainly encounter individuals who exhibit psychopathic personality features. Because of the widespread use of this disorder to inform legal and clinical decision making, psychologists should be exceedingly familiar with the relevant research literature on this topic before venturing into these settings. This article reviews the empirical bases of several clinically relevant claims and assertions regarding psychopathy and concludes that many areas of research are decidedly more equivocal in their findings than is commonly perceived. Although there is much to be gained by assessing psychopathy in various contexts, clinicians need to be cautious about drawing overzealous and empirically questionable conclusions about an important disorder that also has great potential for abuse. Copyright 2006 by the American Psychological Association.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Controversies
  • Decision making
  • Forensic
  • PCL-R
  • Psychopathy

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