Psychopathy in sex offender: a study on a sample of apulian prisoners
Objective. To identify the possible presence and degree of psychopathy, in a sample of detained sex offender and to further evaluate the possible effect of traumatic experiences. Materials and methods. As part of a larger national project, sex offenders of Puglia were selected among the prisoners at the Bari prison and in the detached section of Altamura. Psychopathy levels were measured through PCL- R. Item 8 of HCR-20 v.3 was used to evaluate history of traumatic experiences and victimization episodes. Furthermore, criminological information was collected. Results. Recruited detainees had received convictions for child sexual acts in 70% of cases. The levels of psychopathy that emerged, were in line with those found in other prisoner populations and generally in the medium-low range of PCL-R scores. Prisoners with a history of traumatic experiences had higher levels of psychopathy, as measured by the total PCL-R score and factor 1 (“interpersonal/affective”). Conclusions. The results emerged, deriving from a numerically limited sample, suggest a possible effect of early traumatic experiences in the qualitative and quantitative levels of psychopathy in sex offender.