Discussion: Psychopathy

Psychopathy is an important and complex topic of study in criminal behavior, especially as the definitions associated with psychopathy and associated terms are not concrete. As students of criminal behavior, you are likely to encounter multiple definitions and uses of the word psychopath, as well as terms that are sometimes substituted for it, such as criminal psychopath, antisocial personality disorder, and dissocial psychopaths. Bartol and Bartol (2017) explain that the “true” psychopath, also known as the criminal psychopath, focuses on individuals who engage in repetitive antisocial or criminal behavior. Antisocial personality disorder is similar to the criminal psychopath, however, it only includes behavioral indicators and disregards the neurological and cognitive aspects. Bartol and Bartol (2017) continue to clarify that the dissocial psychopaths are known for their aggressive, antisocial behavior, which they have learned from their subculture (p. 179).

Behaviors associated with psychopathic personalities include: repeat offenses (both violent and nonviolent) without concern for consequences, manipulation that is often charming in nature, and strong resistance to treatment. Psychopathy does not appear as a mental disorder in the DSM-IV-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV Text Revision), but it is closely related to antisocial personality disorder, which is a diagnostic category in the DSM-IV-TR. This nuance promotes continued debate about whether psychopathy should be classified as a mental disorder—a debate that has extreme significance because how psychopathy is classified has important consequences for both perpetrators and victims of crime.

By Day 3

Post an explanation of whether or not you think psychopathy should be classified as a mental disorder. Justify your position using specific examples. Then, describe at least one implication of classifying psychopathy as a mental disorder.

Note: Put your position for or against in the first line of your post. You will be asked to respond to a colleague who argued the opposite position you did.

Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the resources.

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