Understanding the downward extension of psychopathy to youth: Implications for risk assessment and juvenile justice

Michael J. Vitacco, Gina M. Vincent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Psychopathy is an important construct in adult risk assessment resulting from strong associations to antisocial behavior and criminal recidivism. A recent trend is the downward extension of psychopathic traits to explain juvenile violence. Applying the concept of psychopathy to youthful offenders has great potential; however, its application to adolescence is fraught with uncertainty. This article discusses how the search for causes of violence along with the changing juvenile justice system have encouraged psychopathy to be used for informing policies related to the assessment and treatment of juvenile offenders. Based on established research and clinical practice, we make the case that if applied judiciously, psychopathy can be a critical component in identifying youth most at-risk for short-term violence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-38
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Forensic Mental Health
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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