Conceptualizing antisocial personality: The validity of the DSM-5 section III psychopathy specifier

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
Author: Fuller, Erin
Section III of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (American Psychiatric Association, 2013) includes an alternative model of personality disorder diagnosis that conceptualizes antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) as an interpersonal, rather than behavioural, construct. However, the diagnostic specifier for psychopathy has been met with controversy due to its conceptual and empirical overlap with Triarchic boldness (Crego & Widiger, 2014; Few et al., 2015; Miller et al., 2018), which has been debated as a necessary and sufficient domain of psychopathy. This thesis examined the concurrent, convergent, discriminant, and predictive validity of the specifier using samples of undergraduate students (n = 224) and criminally involved adults (n = 306) who completed various self-report questionnaires. Multivariate analyses highlight the specifier as a multidimensional construct with divergent associations across facets. Findings generally suggest poor validity for two of the three specifier facets, which raises concerns regarding the clinical utility of the specifier in an ASPD diagnosis.
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Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Douglas, Kevin
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