While the relationship between attachment as a general construct (i.e., closeness to caregivers) and psychopathy has been partially explored, few studies have investigated attachment dimensions and either psychopathy as a general construct or its various facets. The current study examined attachment anxiety versus attachment avoidance within adolescent-mother relationships in relation to psychopathy in 80 high-risk adolescents (30 females). The moderating role of conduct disorder (CD) onset regarding attachment dimensions and psychopathy also was assessed because of its importance in predicting and explaining multiple negative life outcomes. Regression analyses revealed a significant interaction between childhood-onset CD and attachment avoidance in relation to the affective facet, but not to the interpersonal and behavioural facets of psychopathy. Further, exploratory analyses, as predicted, confirmed that there was a likely gender difference regarding CD in its relationship to attachment and psychopathy. These findings support the differential importance of psychopathy facets when assessing attachment.
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Thesis advisor: Corrado, Raymond
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