Addressing the complex links between psychopathy and childhood maltreatment, emotion regulation, and aggression-a network analysis in adults

Diana Moreira, Candy Silva, Patrícia Moreira, Tiago Miguel Pinto, Raquel Costa, Diogo Lamela, Inês Jongenelen, Rita Pasion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Downloads

Abstract

Childhood maltreatment is the strongest predictor of psychopathology and personality disorders across the lifespan and is strongly associated with a variety of psychological problems, namely, mood and anxiety disorders, behavioral and personality disorders, substance abuse, aggression, and self-harm. In this study, we aim to provide a comprehensive picture of the interplay between different traits of psychopathy and distinct dimensions of childhood maltreatment, emotion regulation, and aggression. Using a cross-sectional design, we employed correlational network analysis to explore the nomological network of psychopathy and provide a sample-based estimate of the population parameters reflecting the direction, strength, and patterns of relationships between variables. The sample consisted of 846 adults (71% females) who completed questionnaires measuring psychopathy, childhood maltreatment, emotion regulation, and aggression. The results highlight that disinhibition traits of psychopathy are the closest attributes of early experiences of abuse (but not neglect) in childhood and correlate with all dimensions of emotion regulation difficulties, being specifically associated with reactive aggression. Neglect was a unique attribute in the nomological network of meanness, with widespread correlations with emotion regulation difficulties but also an increased ability to engage in goal-directed behavior. Physical abuse was the only dimension of childhood adversity that was found to be intercorrelated with boldness and increased emotional regulation was found in this psychopathic trait. No significant associations were found between boldness, meanness, and aggression once shared variance with disinhibition was controlled. These results are discussed in terms of their implication for research and clinical practice.
Original languageEnglish
Article number115
Number of pages15
JournalBehavioral Sciences
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

Keywords

  • Aggression
  • Childhood maltreatment
  • Emotion regulation
  • Nomological network
  • Psychopathy

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Addressing the complex links between psychopathy and childhood maltreatment, emotion regulation, and aggression-a network analysis in adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this