Articles-Books-Resources - Fledgling Psychopaths

Posted by: Anonymous

Articles-Books-Resources - Fledgling Psychopaths - 08/03/02 12:24 PM

QUOTABLE: Robert Hare, Ph.D.

"It is hard to imagine any parent of a psychopath who has not asked the question, almost certainly with a sense of desperation, `What have I done wrong as a parent to bring this about in my child?'

"The answer is, possibly nothing. To summarize our sparse data, we do not know why people become psychopaths, but current evidence leads us away from the commonly held idea that the behavior of parents bears sole or even primary responsibility for the disorder."

Robert Hare, Ph.D., in
Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us, 1993
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Articles - Resources - 08/03/02 01:10 PM


Crime Times
Vol. 3, No. 3, 1997 Page 3

New research (See related article, Crime Times, Vol. 3, No. 3, Page 1) indicates that childhood hyperactivity, even in the absence of childhood conduct disorder (CD), is a risk factor for behavioral pathology in adults. But researcher Donald Lynam believes that children with both hyperactivity and conduct problems have a far greater risk of becoming serious criminals, and that these children in fact may have "a subtype of CD best described as fledgling psychopathy." It is this group of children, Lynam speculates, w w w who become the hard core five or six percent of offenders who commit more than half of all crimes.

Lynam cites extensive evidence linking the combination of childhood hyperactivity and conduct problems to adult psychopathology. Among the research findings:

*Children with both hyperactivity and conduct problems have higher rates of antisocial behavior in adulthood than children with either problem alone.

*Children with both hyperactivity and conduct problems exhibit antisocial behavior at an earlier age, and exhibit more frequent and severe behavior problems, than children with either problem alone. When conduct problems occur with other disorders such h h h as s anxiety, however, there is no similarly elevated level of deviancy.

*Children with hyperactivity and conduct problems show deficits on laboratory, psychophysiological, and performance tests that are suggestive of deficits seen in adult psychopaths.

Lynam hypothesizes that children with both hyperactivity and conduct problems have a cognitive defect he calls the "psychopathic deficit." "This deficit," he says, "is a failure to inhibit... goal-directed behavior, in the face of changing environmental contingencies." He calls this "deficient Psychopath [for psychopathic] constraint," and notes that it is also seen in animals whose levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin are depleted. (In humans and animals both, low serotonin levels are linked to impulsivity and aggression.)

Article Continues...
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Articles - Resources - 08/03/02 01:35 PM

Experts debate nature, nurture

The Cincinnati Enquirer
June 3, 1998

America's search for answers to why its disgruntled children are killing their classmates has led to a desperate question: Are some people natural-born killers?

There is a growing belief in the scientific community that some children are predestined to violent behavior due to genetic or biological abnormalities.

Yet most believe that biology has to be accompanied by other factors to cause violent behavior, and shootings like those that have occurred in the nation's school hallways only happen after all of the factors align in just the right way.

''I think it is unfair to pit nature versus nurture -- I think it is nature and nurture,'' said Charles Ewing, a professor of law and psychology at the State University of New York at Buffalo who has written several books on kids who kill.

''It is biology and environment and then you have a third factor: circumstance. I've evaluated plenty of kids who have two strikes against them, but there was still some type of odd circumstance that put that gun in their hand.''

Fledgling psychopaths

Murderers and other violent offenders have long been thought to be products of cruel or neglectful environments. New research has led to a belief that the country is full of ''fledgling psychopaths.''

Article Continues...
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Articles - Resources - 08/03/02 01:42 PM

Studies reveal background to
Sex murders
Mike Earl-Taylor reports.
May 17, 2000

Recent studies conducted in the US on 14 male juveniles convicted of sexual homicide indicate a linked pattern of criminal and antisocial behaviour closely aligned to that of adult sex killers, particularly the psychopathic serial killer.

CRIMINOLOGISTS, psychologists and allied professionals in mental health, law enforcement and penal institutions have more recently become aware of how dysfunctional childhood and adolescent development patterns can and sometimes do lead to a propensity to the commission of violent crimes.

But nowhere is this more apparent than in a seminal and comprehensive American study of juveniles incarcerated for sexual homicide.

Researchers found that, although juvenile sexual murderers comprise less than one percent of juvenile murderers, they are likely to be an emotionally and behaviourally disturbed population with "serious familial, academic, and environmental vulnerabilities".

Sexual homicide is defined as the fusion of "sexual assault and murder and contains a sexual element or activity as the basis of the sequence of events leading to the death of the victim".

In addition to the murderous behaviour, the crime will also either include an overt sexual assault such as rape or sodomy, (in the South African context the latter would be legally defined as aggravated indecent assault) or sexually symbolic behaviour.

This could include lack of clothing on the victim, sexualised positioning of the body, evidence of semen on or near the body, or mutilation of sexual organs.

Another aspect indicative of the sexual homicide in both juveniles and that of adult psychopaths is "overkill", the infliction of excessive trauma beyond that which is necessary to cause the victim's death.

Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Articles - Resources - 08/30/02 12:38 PM

The importance of callous-unemotional traits for extending the concept of psychopathy to children.

Barry, C. T., Frick, Psychopath. J., DeShazo, T. M., McCoy, M. G., Ellis, M., & Loney, B. R. (2000). The importance of callous-unemotional traits for extending the concept of psychopathy to children. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 109(2), 335-340.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Articles - Resources - 10/25/02 06:31 PM

The Assessment of Psychopathy in Adolescents

By Stephen D. Hart, Simon Fraser University

more: Assesment of Psychopathy in Adolescents Resources
Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: Articles - Resources - 12/25/04 05:52 PM

Scolar Papers on Predictors and Adolescents]
Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: Articles - Resources - 01/15/05 05:52 PM

Psychopathy and young offenders: Rates of childhood maltreatment

Child maltreatment is an enormous problem in North America. For example, approximately two million Americans report that they were "beaten up" by a parent during childhood.(2) Canadian researchers have also found that 20%-30% of prepubescent children have been sexually abused.(3)

Child maltreatment has been linked with a host of problems such as neurological disturbances,(4) psychiatric difficulties,(5) social skill and interpersonal problems,(6) conduct disorders(7) and the perpetuation of future child abuse.(8) Further, recent research contends that there is an association between child maltreatment and antisocial or aggressive behaviour (although this research is characterized by methodological problems).(9)

Some adolescents continue antisocial behaviour throughout their lives(10) - similar to psychopaths.(11) Psychopaths tend to begin their antisocial activities at a very early age, and their violent and aggressive tendencies remain relatively constant throughout their lives.(12) However, no clear evidence (to date) indicates that adult psychopathy is related to childhood maltreatment. (13)

This article assesses the prevalence of childhood maltreatment in a sample of young offenders and investigates whether the onset of aggressive behaviour in psychopaths is related to childhood maltreatment. To accomplish this, the article examines the association (if any) between psychopathy, childhood maltreatment and antisocial activities. Methodology The study sample was composed of 95 male young offenders incarcerated in two secure youth detention institutions. The offenders were assessed for psychopathy by using information gathered from interview and institutional files and the Hare Psychopathy Checklist (youth version). This instrument is a 20-item symptom checklist designed to measure the interpersonal, affective and behavioural traits of psychopathy in adolescent populations. Each item is scored on a three-point scale and offender scores range from 0 to 40.

Psychopathy and young offenders: Rates of childhood maltreatment - Scholars Papers
Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: Articles - Resources - 02/18/05 01:43 PM

The Handbook of Juvenile Forensic Psychology

Book Review
Adolescence, Spring, 2003

The Handbook of Juvenile Forensic Psychology is a comprehensive handbook for mental health professionals working with juveniles in the criminal justice system and in family and dependency courts. Written by a panel of experts in the field, the book focuses on proactive prevention, accurate evaluation, and progressive treatment for delinquent juveniles and for juveniles caught in the web of a contentious divorce or in the foster care system.

The book contains information about: statistics and trends in juvenile justice and forensic psychology; juveniles in gangs; police and juveniles; problematic confessions in children and adolescents; juveniles tried as adults, social development in children and adolescents; conduct disorder or disordered conduct?; the use and misuse of PTSD diagnosis in juvenile forensic settings; psychosis in juvenile offenders; neuropsychiatric vulnerabilities in serious juvenile offenders; children who kill; the classroom avenger; multicultural issues in the assessment and treatment of juveniles; evaluating juvenile competency to waive Miranda rights; assessing psychopathy in juveniles; violence risk assessment of youth; juvenile sex offenders; treatment in institutions; the role of the psychiatrist with incarcerated youth; confining and curing the juvenile offender; the role of the school psychologist in juvenile forensics; preparing children for court; reciprocal connectedness and the limitations of attachment theory in the family and juvenile dependency courts; roles psychologists play in child custody disputes; evaluating juveniles in custody disputes; the juvenile dependency process; juvenile court and dependency; the psychologist as consultant in the child welfare system; and keeping high-risk youth from becoming incarcerated adults.

Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: Articles - Resources - 02/18/05 01:49 PM

Psychopathic traits in boys with and without attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: concurrent and longitudinal correlates

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Oct, 2004
by Auran Piatigorsky, Stephen Psychopath. Hinshaw

Psychopathy is a devastating problem for society, especially when it appears in individuals with repertoires of antisocial behavior (Hart & Hare, 1997). Because psychopathy is investigated almost exclusively in adulthood, little is known about the potential childhood precursors of this constellation of personality traits. In this study, we use the California Child Q-Set (CCQ; Block, 1961), a well-investigated ipsative measure of personality traits, to measure psychopathic traits in childhood, allowing examination of the concurrent and prospective correlates of CCQ psychopathy dimension scores in a clinical and comparison sample of boys. Studying childhood correlates of psychopathic traits is essential for mental health professionals to identify children at risk for serious antisocial behavior and perhaps use appropriate early intervention strategies.
Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: Articles - Resources - 03/20/05 10:22 AM

The Hare Psychopathy Checklist Youth Version (PCL:YV)

Identifying youth with psychopathic traits is critical to understanding the factors that contribute to the development of adult psychopathy. The Hare Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version (PCL:YV) is a 20-item rating scale for the assessment of psychopathic traits in male and female offenders aged 12 to 18.

Adapted from the Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R), the most widely used measure of psychopathy in adults, the PCL:YV uses an expert-rater format that emphasizes the need for multidomain and multisource information. Using a semistructured interview and collateral information, the PCL:YV measures interpersonal, affective, and behavioral features related to a widely understood, traditional concept of psychopathy. The PCL:YV yields dimensional scores for clinical purposes, but it can also be used to classify individuals into groups for research purposes.

Dr. Hare's Youth Version source
Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: Articles - Resources - 03/20/05 11:07 AM

Hug a thug?
by Pamela Stirling
New Zealand Listener

When was it that we first began to fear the kids? Arrests of under-17-year-olds increased more than 40 percent between 1991 and 2000. But look back and it's clear that violent crime by delinquent youth in New Zealand grew markedly from the 1980s. You can blame it on the indulgent individualism of that decade or you can blame it on market reforms, but what's obvious now is that we're beginning to see the socially catastrophic effects of childhood gone badly wrong. Words like "fledgling psychopaths" were being used by police long before 12-year-old Bailey Junior Kurariki's cherubic face appeared on our screens. Now a study by clinical psychologists for the Department of Corrections shows that a staggering 71 percent of young offenders in our prisons show psychopathic tendencies.

One of the study's authors, Dr Nick Wilson, described such prisoners – average age 17, average number of convictions 17 – as "predators" who view victims as prey. What is so chilling is that 70 percent had convictions for serious violence or sexual offending. And it's an insight into just how warped their social-isation has been to realise that the sex crimes of budding psychopaths aren't fuelled by deep uncontrollable emotions. These kids commit crimes in cold blood. Psychopaths tend to rape when they are in a good mood, notes Wilson. "He might cap off a good evening by carrying out a rape."

Predictably, there are calls for more police powers to deal with tiny tearaways before they reach that criminal stage. In Britain, the government has devised the Anti-social Behaviour Order, or ASBO. Now, teenagers who terrorise the neighbourhood by spreading graffiti, blasting music, breaking windows and bullying residents can find themselves subject to a list of restrictions obtained either in a civil hearing or following a criminal conviction. Troublemakers as young as 10 can be barred from entering streets, using public transport and mobile phones or even uttering certain phrases for a minimum of two years. Bring it on?
Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: Articles - Resources - 03/20/05 11:14 AM

ADHD + Conduct Disorder May Signal Trouble Ahead
Joan Arehart-Treichel

Are children who have ADHD likely to grow up to become criminals? A small study suggests they do not unless they also have conduct disorder.

Small children who don’t mind their parents, who throw temper tantrums, and who are all charged up physically may be headed down the path to criminal behavior, a British study suggested recently (Psychiatric News, December 7, 2001).

But how about somewhat older youngsters who are simply maddening dervishes of activity? Are they too on track for becoming criminals later in life?

Probably not, unless their behaviors are also accompanied by a conduct disorder, suggests a study reported by German scientists in the October Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Several investigations in the past have implied that having attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in childhood increases the risk of engaging in antisocial behaviors in adulthood. But these studies really didn’t look into whether the risk was due to having ADHD alone or to having ADHD combined with conduct disorder. So Sabine Herpertz, M.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry at Aachen University in Germany, and colleagues decided to undertake a study to see whether they could solve this riddle.

Psychiatry Online article continues...
Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: Articles - Resources - 05/27/05 06:46 PM

Anti-social behaviour 'inherited'
BBC Tuesday, 24 May, 2005

Anti-social behaviour in some children could be the result of their genetic make-up, a study says.

UK research on twins suggests children with early psychopathic tendencies, such as lack of remorse, are likely to have inherited it from their parents.

These young children may also display inherited anti-social behaviour, the Institute of Psychiatry team found.

But environmental factors are also important and, if favourable, could act as a buffer, they stressed.

And anti-social behaviour in children with no psychopathic tendencies is likely to be down to mainly environmental factors, they believe.

Anti-social behaviour 'inherited'- BBC article continues...
Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: Articles - Resources - 06/06/05 11:42 AM

Youth Antisocial Behavior

Recent juvenile crime statistics suggest that youth antisocial behavior is occurring at younger ages and with greater frequency and severity than in prior decades. Research also suggests that a small proportion of juvenile offenders (approx. 5 to 6%) account for the greatest number of overall reported crimes. The mental health community has attempted to address this mounting social concern by exploring for risk factors (e.g., family dysfunction and school failure) associated with the most severe and persistent antisocial youth meeting criteria for the psychiatric diagnosis of Conduct Disorder (CD). Recent research suggests that approximately 25% of children with a CD diagnosis exhibit severe behavior problems prior to adolescence and show a greater likelihood of continuing their pattern of behavior into adulthood. There is speculation that the combination of conduct problems characteristic of CD and impulsivity/hyperactivity characteristic of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) designates a particularly problematic risk group for persistent antisocial behavior. However, recent CD research suggests that the presence of a callous and unemotional interpersonal style (e.g., superficial charm, shallow emotions, and lack of guilt) predicts poor outcome above and beyond related ADHD symptoms.

What is psychopathy?:

Psychopathy refers to a constellation of affective (e.g., superficial charm), interpersonal (e.g., callous disregard for others' feelings), and behavioral (e.g., criminal activity) impairments characterizing the most severe and treatment-resistant forms of antisocial behavior. The psychopathic offender displays severe antisocial behavior accompanied by a callous and unemotional interpersonal style. Traditionally, clinicians based ratings of psychopathy on 16 criteria developed by Hervey Cleckley (1955) in his seminal book the Mask of Sanity. The criteria include the following: a superficial charm, lack of remorse or shame, pathological egocentricity, poverty in major affective reactions, and inadequately motivated antisocial behavior. The Antisocial Personality Disorder diagnosis was an attempt to revise and strengthen the assessment of psychopathy. It was meant to capture the essence of the psychopath; however, given the DSM's behavioral emphasis, the APD diagnosis has proven ineffective in capturing the affective and interpersonal features that are the hallmark of the psychopathy construct. A number of rating scale measures have been developed in the past two decades to assist with measuring psychopathy. The most well known is the Psychopathy Checklist (PCL) developed by Robert Hare and colleagues to assess both the personality and behavioral features of psychopathic behavior. Research in adult male forensic settings suggests that the PCL contains two separate yet related factors:

1) an affective/interpersonal factor tapping the callous and unemotional qualities of the psychopathic offender and 2) an impulsive and antisocial behavior factor characteristic of the symptoms included in the Antisocial Personality Disorder diagnosis.

Elevations on the two factors represent the psychopathy construct. Research by Hare and colleagues suggests that Factor 1 is associated with clinician ratings of psychopathy and measures of narcissism, while Factor 2 is associated with ASPD diagnoses and criminal behaviors.

What is child psychopathy?:

Research on child psychopathy entails an exploration of the developmental precursors to adult psychopathic behavior. It is not an attempt to develop a psychopathy diagnosis for children. This research was facilitated by the recent development of a child psychopathy measure, the Psychopathy Screening Device (PSD; Frick & Hare, in press). The PSD is a 20-item rating scale that is a downward extension of the adult PCL measure. Similar to the adult instrument, the PCL taps both a callous and unemotional interpersonal style and an impulsive/conduct problems dimension. Research using the PSD suggests that children exhibiting significant conduct problems in the context of elevated levels of CU traits exhibit a greater variety and severity of antisocial behavior. Furthermore, callous-unemotional conduct problems are associated with different risk factors than those found for the general Conduct Disorder diagnosis.

For example, Conduct Disorder is typically associated with heightened rates of parenting difficulties, financial strain, and verbal intelligence impairment; whereas, callous-unemotional conduct problems are more associated with decreased sensitivity to fear/punishment stimuli, reward seeking behavior, and paternal history of ASPD. This pattern of correlates suggests that an emotional deficit may underly the development of callous-unemotional traits and subsequent callous-unemotional conduct problems.
Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: Articles - Resources - 06/06/05 12:50 PM


SAN DIEGO, October 25, 2004 — The next time you find yourself wondering, “Teenagers! Why do they do that?”, look to their adolescent brains. New research suggests that the risk-taking behaviors seen in adolescents may be attributed to their still developing brains. Another study explores the brain basis for the risk-taking behaviors of psychopaths.

New research—in both humans and animals—shows differences in the structure and functioning of adolescent brains compared with preadolescents or adults that correspond to such teenage behaviors as immature decision making, increased risk taking, and impulsive behaviors. As a result of this research, scientists now urge that puberty be studied as a separate stage of development—one distinctly different from the life stages of children or adults.

“Adolescents' brains seem to bias their decision-making capabilities in the direction of favoring short-term benefits, even when these benefits are weighed against potential long-term detriments,” says Jonathan Cohen, MD, PhD, of the department of psychology at Princeton University.

In one study, Gregory Berns, MD, PhD, and his colleagues at Emory University School of Medicine found that hyperactivity in the reward circuits of adolescent brains compared with adult brains may underlie adolescents' immature decision making.

The researchers intermittently administered primary rewards of squirts of juice and water to adolescents aged 13 to 17 and to adults aged 30 to 50, while simultaneously viewing their brain activity with functional magnetic resonance imaging. The adolescents' brains showed significant activation in the medial prefrontal cortex and in the brainstem, near the ventral tegmentum and substantia nigra, compared with adults.

In previous studies, the researchers found that this reward model showed good specificity for targeting brain regions heavily innervated by the midbrain dopamine system. Other recent research has suggested that dopamine may play a role in the learning of behaviors associated with reward and pleasure. Consistent with this view, the model demonstrated that when the rewards were administered in an unpredictable manner, a key reward structure of the brain—the striatum—was more active, suggesting that “reward” to the brain may have more to do with the predictability of an event than with how pleasurable it is.

“These studies suggest that adolescent decisions may, in part, be due to a greater biological sensitivity to either rewards themselves or, more likely, the novelty of rewards,” says Berns. “It is possible that a reward or novelty associated with the reward may trigger hyperactivity in still developing brain reward structures and circuits.”

Article Continues...
Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: Articles - Resources - 06/06/05 08:03 PM

Study on Juvenile Psychopaths

What is the "super predator"?
He or she are young hypercriminals who are committing acts of violence of unprecedented coldness and brutality. This newest phenomena in the world of crime is perhaps the most dangerous challenge facing society and law enforcement ever. While psychopaths are not new, this breed of super criminal exceeds the scope of psychopathic behavior. They are younger, more brutal, and completely unafraid of the law. While current research on the super predator is scarce, I will attempt to give an indication as to the reasons a child could become just such a monster.

Violent teenage criminals are increasingly vicious. John DiIulio, Professor of Politics and Public Affairs at Princeton University, says that "The difference between the juvenile criminals of the 1950s and those of the 1970s and early 1980s was the difference between the Sharks and the Jets of West Side Story and the Bloods and the Crips. It is not inconceivable that the demographic surge of the next ten years will bring with it young criminals who make the Bloods and the Crips look tame." (10) They are what Professor DiIulio and others call urban "super predators"; young people, often from broken homes or so-called dysfunctional families, who commit murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, and other violent acts. These emotionally damaged young people, often are the products of sexual or physical abuse. They live in an aimless and violent present; have no sense of the past and no hope for the future; they commit unspeakably brutal crimes against other people, often to gratify whatever urges or desires drive them at the moment and their utter lack of remorse is shocking.(9)

Studies reveal that the major cause of violent crime is not poverty but family breakdown - specifically, the absence of a father in the household. Today, right now, one-fourth of all the children in the United States are living in fatherless homes - this adds up to 19 million children without fathers. Compared to children in two parent family homes, these children will be twice as likely to drop out of school, twice as likely to have children out of wedlock, and they stand more than three times the chance of ending up in poverty, and almost ten times more likely to commit violent crime and ending up in jail. (1)

Study on Juvenile Psychopaths...continues...
Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: Articles - Resources - 06/15/05 06:05 AM

Toddler tearaways targeted
June 12, 2005

Timesonline UK
by Robert Winnett and Andrew Porter

A CONFIDENTIAL Home Office report recommends that children should be targeted as potential criminals from the age of three. It says they can be singled out by their bullying behaviour in nursery school or by a history of criminality in their immediate family.

It proposes parenting classes and, in the worst cases, putting more children who are not “under control” into intensive foster care instead of care homes. Nursery staff would be trained to spot children at risk of growing up to be criminals.

The 250-page report, entitled Crime Reduction Review, was drawn up on the instructions of Tony Blair, who wanted to identify the most effective ways of cutting crime by 2008.

Its leak coincides with an expected announcement tomorrow by Ruth Kelly, the education secretary, of a £430m package to provide out-of-hours clubs at schools for children aged four to 14.

The Home Office strategy unit, which spent five months compiling the report, concluded that “from the simple perspective of reducing crime . . . the arguments for focusing resources on the children most at risk are ‘overwhelming’”.

Children who were not “under control” by the age of three were four times as likely to be convicted of a violent offence, it warned. It adds: “Getting schools to tackle bullying, exclusions and truancy effectively is key to diverting more adolescents from crime”.

The report was conducted against a bleak assessment by the Home Office that, without new measures, the crime rate would rise 8.5% by 2008.

Last July the government used the review’s findings on what worked and what didn’t to underpin a formal commitment to reduce crime by 15% by 2008.

Measures such as CCTV, increased street lighting and longer custodial sentences were judged in the report to have been expensive failures, with only a few exceptions.

Instead, it maintained that if potential offenders were spotted young enough, “soft” measures — such as improving their reading, language and social skills — could be enough to change their direction.

Kelly’s £430m is intended to provide breakfast clubs and after-hours sports and arts; some children could be at school from 8am to 6pm. The sessions will be run by private sector and voluntary groups, rather than by the schools’ regular staff.

Research in the report found that 85% of inmates in young offenders’ institutions had been bullies at school, while 43% of male prisoners had children with a criminal record. In a verdict likely to anger leftwingers, the report suggests that bullies should be treated as aggressors rather than victims of their social background.

Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: Articles - Resources - 06/15/05 10:00 AM

Excerpt from BBC, June 2005

The Hales fostered their two boys Andy and Jason when they were five and two years old. Five years later the couple officially adopted them and did everything they felt they could as their new parents to provide the youngsters with a happy childhood.

Sixteen years on Andrew and Helen’s relationship with the boys has broken down. Eighteen-year-old Jason has a serious drug and alcohol problem and Andy, now twenty one is serving a two year prison sentence for arson.

The Hales argue that social services withheld information about the boys’ background and should have warned them that the children might erupt when they were older.

Andrew and Helen Hale are part of an anonymous group of disillusioned, angry, middle-class parents who feel the system has failed them and now want recompense. Did the Hales fail as parents or were they failed by social services?

ONE life follows the whole family over one year as they attempt to find answers and some kind of family resolution

Their bio mother was a drinker

She didn’t keep contact with them

She wrote sentimental poetry for them to read almost as though to absolve herself

Even though they were adopted at a young age their behaviour could not be changed

Their adopted father said they had a “veneer” of middle class respectability but underneath they were rough.

The parents gave every opportunity for them to become loved family members but everything they did was rejected

The parents forgave them and kept trying to help them to no avail

Their marriage was almost destroyed

They could not have the children living with them any longer

The older boy even stole the fathers credit card during the filming and denied it-lied in the face pf the obvious

He stole from his grandmother but said it didn’t count because nobody got hurt-total disregard for social norms/ no empathy

They were involved in criminal activities and were not bothered about prison sentences-punishment was ineffective

I could go on for ages but for me the most telling part was when the older boy/man said “they should stop making excuses for me, I do what I want to do”. He said this in response to the parents trying to explain his RAD, he accepted responsibility for his own actions and had no remorse. I was very surprised that the father actually used the term “ you have RAD” but he is a doctor so maybe he was able to get a diagnosis more easily.
Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: Articles - Resources - 06/17/05 04:56 PM

Naughty, or wicked?
by Dr Thomas Stuttaford

A lack of empathy points to psychopathic tendencies

DISRUPTIVE INFANTS are to be treated as “potential criminals”, a headline in The Times on Monday announced. It has been suggested that the Government has decided that “children as young as 3 should be targeted as potential criminals and nursery staff should be trained to spot the children most likely to go off the rails”. Gitta Sereny, the author of the book about Mary Bell, the child killer, condemned this elsewhere in the paper, standing by the long-held opinion that it is nurture, rather than nature, that determines personality.

Is your toddler an antisocial, disruptive, aggressive tearaway with a streak of cruelty? Is he or, increasingly, she, when adult likely to spend time as the reluctant guest of Her Majesty in some form of penal institution? Can anyone — parent, grandparent or teacher — predict how the bullying tyrant in the nursery will grow up?

For a generation, or possibly two, it has been unfashionable to pay much heed to Wordsworth’s contention that “the Child is father of the Man”. Now, however, common sense is returning and the biblical statement that “even a child is known by its doings” has received the support of research funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Department of Health and the Home Office. The study revealed the extent to which a genetic component was responsible for unruly, antisocial behaviour in childhood, and investigated those symptoms that were predictors of trouble ahead for adult life. The study was carried out by Dr Essi Viding, of the MRC Unit at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, and published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

Dr Viding starts her assessment of the symptoms that should perhaps alert parents to a stormy ride with a child by discussing Mark, one of 3,687 seven-year-old pairs of twins in the study. Mark was described (probably by his teachers, as the research also showed that many parents are not as good at evaluating a child’s personality) as someone who “does not feel guilty when he has done something wrong, he does not show feeling and emotions and is rarely helpful when someone is hurt”.

This description encapsulates the basic faultlines in a personality that in childhood betrays psychopathic tendencies that, when adult, could lead to behaviour characteristic of psychopathy or antisocial personality disorder. One incident that sticks in my mind from more than half a century ago when I was at school was that of an apparently charming, daredevil junior boy who had a personality with features not unlike Mark’s. The boy had a traumatic, war-torn home life.

An example of his behaviour was the time he furthered his scientific interests by carrying out an experiment that involved directing the rays of the sun with mirrors on to a row of hawks tethered to blocks on the lawn. He was estimating how much time it took to scorch their feathers. The experiment was discontinued once the birds’ squawks alerted their owners. The rogue scientist was apprehended.

Talking to him later, the most interesting feature of this experiment was his totally callous, unemotional indifference to the pain and distress that the birds might have suffered. Like Mark, he showed no feelings, remorse, or any empathy.
Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: Articles - Resources - 07/13/05 06:54 PM

May 26, 2005
Twins Study Finds Genetic Cause For Psychopathy

Dr. Essi Viding of the London Kings College Institute of Psychiatry and colleagues have found the tendency toward psychopathic behavior has a strong genetic component.

New research on the origins of antisocial behaviour, published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, suggests that early-onset antisocial behaviour in children with psychopathic tendencies is largely inherited.

Dr Viding's research looked into the factors that contribute to antisocial behaviour in children with and without psychopathic tendencies. By studying sets of 7-year-old twins, Dr. Viding and her colleagues were able to pinpoint to what extent antisocial behaviour in these two groups was caused by genetic and/or environmental risk factors.

A sample of 3687 twin pairs formed the starting point for this research. Teacher ratings for antisocial behaviour and psychopathic tendencies (i.e. lack of empathy and remorse) were used to classify the twins. Those who were in the top 10% of the sample for antisocial behaviour were separated into two groups - those with and without psychopathic tendencies.

Following analysis, the results showed that, in children with psychopathic tendencies, antisocial behaviour was strongly inherited. In contrast, the antisocial behaviour of children who did not have psychopathic tendencies was mainly influenced by environmental factors. These findings are in line with previous research showing that children with psychopathic tendencies are at risk to continue their antisocial behaviour and are often resistant to traditional forms of intervention.

For those who recognize the name note that Robert Plomin is one of the co-authors.

Evidence for substantial genetic risk for psychopathy in 7-year-olds (Essi Viding, R. James R. Blair, Terrie E. Moffitt, Robert Plomin) is published in the June 2005 issue of The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

The bad kids who feel no remorse are genetically bad.

Twins Study Finds Genetic Cause For Psychopathy continues...
Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: Articles - Resources - 08/24/05 10:38 AM

Brain Differences In Adolescents, Psychopaths, Lend To Their Impulsive, Risk-taking Behavior
Date: 2004-11-02

The next time you find yourself wondering, “Teenagers! Why do they do that?”, look to their adolescent brains. New research suggests that the risk-taking behaviors seen in adolescents may be attributed to their still developing brains. Another study explores the brain basis for the risk-taking behaviors of psychopaths.

New research—in both humans and animals—shows differences in the structure and functioning of adolescent brains compared with preadolescents or adults that correspond to such teenage behaviors as immature decision making, increased risk taking, and impulsive behaviors. As a result of this research, scientists now urge that puberty be studied as a separate stage of development—one distinctly different from the life stages of children or adults.

“Adolescents' brains seem to bias their decision-making capabilities in the direction of favoring short-term benefits, even when these benefits are weighed against potential long-term detriments,” says Jonathan Cohen, MD, PhD, of the department of psychology at Princeton University.

In one study, Gregory Berns, MD, PhD, and his colleagues at Emory University School of Medicine found that hyperactivity in the reward circuits of adolescent brains compared with adult brains may underlie adolescents' immature decision making.

Brain Differences In Adolescents, Psycho...or...continues]
Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: Articles - Resources - 01/04/06 11:28 AM

Symptoms of Fledgling Psychopathy in Children

Superficially charming and engaging, particularly around strangers or those who they feel they can manipulate

Indiscriminate affection, often to strangers; but not affectionate on parent’s terms

Problems making eye contact, except when angry or lying

A severe need to control everything and everyone; worsens as the child gets older


Hyperactive, yet lazy in performing tasks

Argumentative, often over silly or insignificant things

Frequent tantrums or rage, often over trivial issues

Demanding or clingy, often at inappropriate times

Trouble understanding cause and effect

Poor impulse control

Lacks morals, values, and spiritual faith

Little or no empathy; often have not developed a conscience

Cruelty to animals

Lying for no apparent reason False allegations of abuse

Destructive to property or self


Constant chatter; nonsense questions

Abnormal speech patterns; uninterested in learning communication skills

Developmental / Learning delays

Fascination with fire, blood and gore, weapons, evil; will usually make the bad choice

Problems with food; either hoarding it or refusing to eat

Concerned with details, but ignoring the main issues

Few or no long term friends; tend to be loners

Attitude of entitlement and self-importance

Sneaks things without permission even if he could have had them by asking

Triangulation of adults; pitting one against the other

A darkness behind the eyes when raging

Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: Articles - Resources - 10/24/06 11:21 AM

Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: Articles - Resources - 07/02/11 04:34 PM

The Childhood Psychopath: Bad Seed or Bad Parents
Bad Seed

The Fledgling Psychopath
Crime Library

In 1979, sixteen-year-old Brenda Spencer received a rifle for her birthday. She used it to shoot kids at an elementary school near her San Diego home, wounding nine and killing two. A reporter asked her later why she had done it. Her answer: "I don't like Mondays. This livens up the day."

In 1993, two bodies were found on a country road in Ellis County, Texas. One was male, one female. The boy, 14, had been shot, but the 13-year-old girl had been stripped, raped, and dismembered. Her head and hands were missing. The killer turned out to be Jason Massey, who had decided he was going to become the worst serial killer that Texas had ever seen. He tortured animals, stalked another young woman, and revered killers like Ted Bundy, Charles Manson, and Henry Lee Lucas. He was nine years old when he killed his first cat. He added dozens more over the years, along with dogs and even six cows. He had a long list of potential victims and his diaries were filled with fantasies of rape, torture, and cannibalism of female victims. He was a loner who believed he served a "master" who gave him knowledge and power. He was obsessed with bringing girls under his control and having their dead bodies in his possession.

Nine-year-old Jeffrey Bailey, Jr. pushed a three-year-old friend into the deep part of a motel pool in Florida in 1986. He wanted to see someone drown. As the boy sank to the bottom, Jeffrey pulled up a chair to watch. When it was finished, he went home. When he was questioned, he was more engaged in being the center of attention than in any kind of remorse for what he had done. About the murder he was nonchalant.

On April 13, 2000, three first-graders in north-western Indiana were apprehended in the act of plotting to kill a classmate. They had formed a "hate" club and were trying to recruit other girls to join them in the planned slaughter. They were not yet sure whether they would shoot their target victim, stab her with a butcher knife or hang her. Their plan was interrupted, but another victim in similar circumstances was not so lucky.

Jessica Holtmeyer, 16, hanged a learning-disabled girl in Pennsylvania and then bashed in her face with a rock. Afterward, a witness reported Holtmeyer to say that she wanted to cut the girl up and keep one of her fingers as a souvenir.

These children have a character disturbance. They devalue others and lack a sense of morality. Such incidents as those described above have made it increasingly clear that psychopathy is not exclusively an adult manifestation. In fact, some child development experts believe that childhood psychopathy is increasing at an alarming rate. In the research, these children are regarded as "fledgling psychopaths" who will become increasingly more dangerous as they get older. They might not become killers but they will learn how to manipulate, deceive and exploit others for their own gain. It is generally believed that they have failed to develop affectional bonds that allow them to empathize with another's pain. What they have developed are traits of arrogance, dishonesty, narcissism, shamelessness, and callousness.
Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: Articles - Resources - 07/02/11 04:38 PM

The Childhood Psychopath: Bad Seed or Bad Parents?
Born or Made?
Theories of Psychopathy

Crime Library

According to Canadian theorist Dr. David Lykken, psychopaths are set apart. They differ in temperament from other children and are at greater risk for delinquency. He has looked at the statistics on juvenile crime and concludes that only a few children with antisocial tendencies were born with such a predisposition. They are fearless and probably have a weak behavioral inhibition system. However, Lykken contends that most antisocial behaviors in children are caused by poor parenting—absent fathers and inadequate mothers who fail to properly socialize their child. Perhaps the child frustrates them or perhaps their parenting skills are subnormal. Either way, the child acts out. Lykken calls these children Psychopaths and he believes that we can decrease their numbers with better social skills. He does acknowledge the twin studies that support the view that criminality has a substantial heritability factor, but claims that traits like fearlessness, aggressiveness, and sensation seeking, all of which contribute to antisocial behavior, can be properly channeled toward better things. It is up to parents to do this, and where parenting fails, the child with those traits may express them through violence. In other words, in his opinion, even the child most prone to psychopathy via inherited traits can be guided through good parenting toward using those traits in prosocial ways.

Some brain studies suggest that psychopaths have abnormal brain activities. They make certain connections more slowly than other children, show less fear of punishment, and seem to need to do things that excite their nervous system, such as thrill-seeking behaviors.
Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: Articles - Resources - 07/02/11 04:40 PM

Dr. Jonathan Kellerman
(Ballantyne Publishing)

Amid all the breast-beating and finger-pointing that have followed recent mass shootings by American schoolboys, best-selling novelist and child clinical psychologist Jonathan Kellerman sounds a note of reason.

In this powerful tract about the origins of violent crime in children, Kellerman shines a light on the beginnings of psychopathy -- kids who kill without remorse -- and states that psychopathic tendencies begin very early in life, as young as three, and that they endure.

It's not our "morally bankrupt society," or violent movies that are to blame, Kellerman claims; it's the kids themselves who need to be examined, very carefully and very early.

Kellerman worked with disturbed children for two decades at a major urban hospital, and in private practice for many years. Along the way, he has written three books on psychology, two books for children, and 14 best-selling novels, many based on his practice.

In that time, he encountered only a few very disturbing young boys who all displayed emotional flatness, lack of conscience, bravado, inflated self-esteem and ambitious seeking of gratification. All disparaged those who loved them. All had engaged in criminal behaviour.

None cared to change, he warns. None changed.

Young psychopaths comprise a substantial proportion of children who evolve into serious habitual criminals, he says. They can become tomorrow's Mafia don, cult leader or genocidal dictator. Violent psychopathic youths possess an overriding need for control, power and stimulation, and all display a complete lack of regard for the humanity of others.
Posted by: Dianne E.

Re: Articles-Books-Resources - Fledgling Psychopaths - 07/02/11 04:42 PM


"People are going to say, if you've been abused as a child, if you've been deprived, if your environment's been so shocking, then inevitably that's going to have consequences in the way that you impact on your environment and on other people. But it's just not enough. It's an inadequate answer. If you look at areas of deprivation in the world, if you look at Third World countries, if you look at children who've got nothing, who've been abused, they don't turn automatically into psychopaths. This is something that is innate to the child, which the child is born with — not, I would stress, directly inherited. It's not that if your dad's a psychopath then you're a psychopath but it's much more to do with a combination of genes working together or not working properly together that creates a predisposition for this."

Martin Smedley, a specialist in
caring for seriously disturbed
children, cited on Equinox,
Channel 4 (Britain),
December 7, 2000