Remorse has long been important to the juvenile justice system. However, the nature of this construct has not yet been clearly articulated, and little research has examined its relationships with other theoretically and legally relevant variables. The present study was intended to address these issues by examining relationships among remorse, psychopathology, and psychopathy in a sample of adolescent offenders (N = 97) using the theoretically and empirically established framework of guilt and shame (Tangney & Dearing, 2002). Findings indicated that shame was positively related to behavioural features of psychopathy, whereas guilt was negatively related to psychopathic characteristics more broadly. In addition, shame was positively associated with numerous mental health problems whereas guilt was negatively associated with anger, depression, and anxiety. These results provide empirical support for theory that psychopathy is characterized by lack of remorse (e.g., Hare, 1991), and also underscore shame and guilt as potentially important treatment targets for adolescent offenders.
Spice, A., Viljoen, J.L., Douglas, K.S., & Hart, S.D. (2015). Remorse, psychopathology, and psychopathy among adolescent offenders. Law and Human Behavior, 39(5), 451-462. doi:10,1037/lhb0000137
Law and Human Behavior
Remorse, Psychopathology, and Psychopathy among Adolescent Offenders
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