Conceptualizing psychopathic-like traits in children and adolescents: promise or peril?

Lorraine Johnstone, David J. Cooke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study of Psychopathic Personality Disorder in adults has made a
sustained and important contribution to our understanding and management
of certain adult offenders. As a consequence there have been several
attempts to translate the construct so that it applies to children and adolescents.
This has been justified on several grounds including the promise
of early identification, prevention and treatment as well as improved
decisions about the disposal and management of juvenile offenders.
Several instruments purporting to assess psychopathic-like traits1 in children
and adolescents exist: Two are commercially available and therefore
may be used by practitioners making every day clinical and legal decisions
about antisocial youth. However, extending this construct to children and
adolescents is a complex and contentious issue – a measurement and
moral minefield.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-63
Number of pages10
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009


  • psychpathic traits in children
  • forensic psychology


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