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Influence of psychopathy on self-perceived quality of life in forensic patients: a cohort study in Belgium

Thierry Pham &  Xavier Saloppé

Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology

Vol. 24, No. 1, 01 Feb 2013, Pages: 31-47.



Compared with other offenders, psychopaths have a longer criminal trajectory punctuated by prolonged placements in correctional facilities or forensic establishments. However, little is known about how they experience these environments. Against this background, the influence of psychopathy characteristics on self-perceived quality of life (QOL) in forensic patients was evaluated. Patients (N = 96) were male adult offenders interned in a Belgian forensic hospital, divided into three groups according to psychopathy level: high (N = 26), moderate (N = 35), and low (N = 35). QOL was evaluated with the short version of the World Health Organization Quality of Life assessment tool. Psychopathy was evaluated with the psychopathy checklist – revised. The high- and moderate-psychopathy patients reported better social relations compared with low-psychopathy patients. A detailed examination of the facets of psychopathy showed arrogant/deceitful interpersonal style, and emotional detachment to be positively correlated to a favorable perception of social relations. It may be that the psychopathic characteristics linked to emotional detachment and interpersonal style 'protect' against an unpleasant perception of events experienced and allow looking at social relations in a positive manner.



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