- Examining psychopathy from an attachment perspective: the role of fear of rejection and abandonment
- The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology
- Volume | Issue number
- 27 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
A key feature of psychopathy, a self-centered orientation towards others and a failure to truly connect, is poorly understood. The attachment framework can be used to examine underlying interpersonal mechanisms. Because of the overall failure to connect, we anticipated, and found, in a large undergraduate sample (n = 1074) that both affective-interpersonal traits and impulsive-irresponsible psychopathy facets were positively related to attachment avoidance. Different dynamics may underlie this distancing from others, as evidenced by the fact that callous-unemotionality was negatively related to attachment anxiety, whereas grandiose-manipulative and impulsive-irresponsible traits were positively related to attachment anxiety. Although effect sizes were small and are of correlational nature, our results are in line with a dual deficit model that differential developmental trajectories, largely heritable callousness vs. neglecting and abusive parenting, may lead to adult psychopathy. The differentiating role of fear of rejection and abandonment for the psychopathy construct is discussed.
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