University of Tasmania
whole_MizziRebekahAnne2010_thesis.pdf (2.96 MB)

Personality features in university students : links between impulsivity, aggressiveness and psychopathic characteristics

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posted on 2023-05-26, 17:10 authored by Mizzi, RA
Literature review Traditionally, aggressiveness and impulsivity have been defined, measured and predicted based on the overt behaviour that is often displayed by those who possess a high level of these characteristics. As such, this has led to a view of human nature as either impulsive, aggressive or neither. This paper explores current theories regarding the development of aggressiveness and impulsivity and their nature, and argues that impulsivity and aggressiveness can be conceptualised as personality characteristics that exist on a continuum, and that each and every individual possesses some level of both. This paper further examines the nature and development of psychopathy as a personality disorder, and posits that this cluster of interrelated but relatively independent facets is also dimensional in nature. Finally, the current paper examines the role of impulsivity and aggressiveness in psychopathy, and suggests directions for future research. Empirical study The present study investigated the role of impulsivity and aggressiveness in subclinical psychopathy within an undergraduate university sample. One hundred and fifty three participants (122 female, 28 male, 3 gender unidentified) completed self-report measures in the areas of impulsivity, aggressiveness and psychopathy. Correlation analysis and stepwise regression models were constructed in accordance with the aim of the study, which was to clarify the role of impulsivity and aggressiveness in psychopathic characteristics, and to determine the utility of self-report measures in psychopathy research. The results of the study supported the hypothesis predicting a positive relationship between impulsivity, aggressiveness and psychopathy scores, and that high levels of both impulsivity and aggression were a better predictor of psychopathy scores than either impulsivity or aggressiveness alone. Partial support was received for the hypotheses predicting differential relationships between components of impulsivity, aggressiveness and psychopathy. Specifically, impulsivity scores were found to significantly correlate with the erratic lifestyle scale. However, a significant negative relationship was not found between empathy scores and callous affect scores, contrary to predictions. Post hoe stepwise regression was undertaken to examine which, if any, aspects of impulsivity and aggressiveness were predictive of aspects of psychopathy. The results of the post hoe analysis were discussed with reference to current theories regarding the nature of psychopathy.


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Copyright 2010 the author Thesis (MPsych(Clin))--University of Tasmania, 2010. Includes bibliographical references

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