Childhood Trauma and Psychopathic Features Among Juvenile Offenders

Anne S.J. Farina, Katherine J. Holzer, Matt DeLisi, Michael G. Vaughn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Despite growing interest in psychopathic personality features in juvenile offenders, few studies have examined the relationship between childhood trauma and psychopathy. The present study utilized two datasets: 253 adolescents in a residential facility for juvenile offenders in Pennsylvania and 723 institutionalized delinquents in Missouri. Zero-order correlations and linear regression techniques were employed for boys and girls to examine the relationships between trauma, assessed using the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument Version 2 (MAYSI-2) Traumatic Experiences Scale and the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ), and psychopathy as measured by the Youth Psychopathic Traits Inventory (YPI) and the Psychopathic Personality Inventory–Short Form (PPI-SF). Results indicate that psychopathy is significantly correlated with childhood trauma. For the Missouri data, trauma significantly predicted psychopathy scores for both boys and girls. These results suggest that nuanced understanding of traumatic history of these adolescents may not only be a pathway to psychopathy but also a critical part of their overall assessment and treatment plan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4359-4380
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Oct 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology


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