Psychopathy in women: theoretical and clinical perspectives
Rolf Wynn,1,2 Marita H Høiseth,1 Gunn Pettersen,3
1Department of Forensic Psychiatry, Division of Addiction and Specialized Psychiatric Services, University Hospital of North Norway, Tromsø, Norway; 2Telemedicine Research Group, Department of Clinical Medicine, 3Department of Health and Care Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Tromsø, Norway
Abstract: Prior research on psychopathy has primarily focused on the problem in men. Only a few studies have examined whether psychopathy even exists in women, and if so, how the disorder manifests itself in them. This paper presents a narrative review of the literature on gender and psychopathy. We briefly discuss why this is an important topic for women and we discuss its causes. The concept of psychopathy is defined and related to the diagnostic systems. The discussion includes a presentation of diagnostic tools, including the Hare Psychology Checklist – Revised, which are examined in relationship to the importance of biological gender. While emphasizing the similarities as well as the differences between the sexes, we discuss the matters of prevalence, behavioral expressions, comorbidity, progression, and treatment of the disorder.
Keywords: psychopathy, antisocial, dissocial, personality disorder, sex, women, review
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