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Juvenile Psychopathy Essay

1331 words - 5 pages

In looking at the assessment checklist, there are concerns from many groups and researchers who question applying this disorder to youth who are in fact still within their developmental stages. One concern is whether psychopathy actually exists in the younger populations. According to the Handbook of Child and Adolescent Psychopathy (2010), as noted by Lynam and Salekin that an article by Seagrave and Grisso (2002) stated that, “concerns about the concept being overrepresented in youth, such that too many youth would meet the symptomatic definition of psychopathy even though they were not truly psychopathic”.
Another major concern for researchers and those administering the assessments is whether the construct can be measured or Psychopathy is a word that few know and understand its meaning, but for many outside of the criminology and psychology fields it is a fictitious term that is made up. Most people think of a psychopath like from the movies and associate the term with that alone. For those studying within the above mentioned fields, it becomes a basis for theory and curiosity. Psychopathy is described as a mentally unstable state in a personality of someone that lacks feeling and emotion towards how others feel. Psychopathy is said to be one of a few developmental disorders that can continue throughout a person’s life. There are differences that are discussed between psychopathy, conduct disorder, and antisocial personality disorder that make them easier to understand.
Several studies have concluded that psychopathy can be assessed using the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) for adults. The PCL-R shows the difference between psychopathy and anti-social behavior with general population and incarcerated groups. The difference was shown in Hare’s 1998 research on psychopathy. The major difference was percent of prison populations that had nearly half to almost entire population showed anti-social personality but around a fourth of those would meet the assessment of psychopathy. With this being known among researchers, the focus has shifted to the age of onset to see if there is a connection and a way to prevent this type of behavior.
The shift in focus to children and adolescents has only been a recent topic within the past decade. This was proposed in order to see whether the pattern exists at earlier ages and if any more answers to the questions as to why and how this occurs and what can be done to help or correct the issue. Researchers are most interested in the topic due to the results in adults that are predictors of violence and aggression. There are however concerns among others on whether the construct is reliable in assessing youths for psychopathic traits that were found in adults. There is more of a push from the justice system due to pressures from policy makers about juveniles being tried in an adult court. Due to the judges who make the decisions in juvenile cases and adult cases they are worried about future violence and...

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