Dimensions of psychopathy in relation to proactive and reactive aggression: Does intelligence matter?

Tijs Jambroes, Lucres M. C. Jansen, Peter M. v.d. Ven, Tom Claassen, Jeffrey C. Glennon, Robert R. J. M. Vermeiren, Theo A. H. Doreleijers, Arne Popma

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Adolescents with psychopathic traits were previously thought to possess above average intelligence and display enhanced aggression. The current study analyzed the relationship between three dimensions of psychopathy (grandiose-manipulative (GM), callous-unemotional (CU), impulsive-irresponsible (II)), and both proactive aggression(PA) and reactive aggression(RA), and further assessed if these relationships were moderated by verbal-intelligence(VIQ) and performance-intelligence(PIQ). Subjects included 159 adolescents (M = 15.5 years, SD = 1.3, 49% male), recruited from a closed treatment institution. Dimensions of psychopathy were assessed with the Youth Psychopathic traits Inventory, aggression with the Reactive and Proactive aggression Questionnaire and intelligence scores by the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children. Regression analysis was performed and results were verified by an alternative, data driven generative discovery analysis. Both CU and II-dimensions were positively related with PA and RA. Adolescents with low VIQ showed stronger positive associations between II and both RA and PA, and less stronger positive association between CU and PA. This was partially consistent with results from the alternative analysis. The present study emphasizes to incorporate verbal-intelligence and sub-dimensions of psychopathy ratings in the understanding and treatment of aggression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-82
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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