PSYC 2740 Lecture Notes - Lecture 19: Antisocial Personality Disorder, Experiential Avoidance, Psychopathy
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Lecture 19 – Personality Disorders
November 27th, 2012
Psychopathy and the Legal System
20% of the prison population meets criteria for psychopathy; 50% or greater of violent crimes are perpetrated by
psychopaths; psychopathy is often used to recidivism (likelihood of re-offending).
Psychopathy & Antisocial PD
Most people who would meet the criteria for psychopathy also meet criteria for ASPD; but most who have ASPD do not
meet criteria for psychopathy.
Includes anti-social behaviour but more emphasis on
lack of empathy, callous social attitudes, glib, superficial
Extends across lifespan (through traits do reduce a bit)
Not a current diagnosis
Antisocial Personality Disorder
More focus on the behaviours that are antisocial.
Behaviours tend to reduce over the lifespan (as do some
People feel like they are not good enough; feelings of inadequacy; sensitive to criticism, any kind of remark
(constructive) is going to make them very sensitive and wrong; restricts activities to avoid embarrassments; low self-
Excessive need to be taken care of by others; extremely submissive (more vulnerable to being taken advantage of);
constantly making sure that other will be there for them (seeks reassurance from others); rarely takes initiate and rarely
disagrees with others (more likely to follow suit); does not work well independently (need direction); may tolerate abuse
from others to obtain support (fear of being alone).
Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder
Not the same as OCD; preoccupied with order (need to take the same route to work every day); strives for perfection;
devoted to work, seeks little leisure time or friendship (spend a lot of time doing work, have very high standards);
frequently miserly or stingy (not loose with their money or posessions); rigid and inflexible, stubborn (can’t be swayed);
can become distraught if things don’t go their way. *most common personality disorder
Lecture 20 – NSSI and Personality
Nonsuicidal Self-injury (NSSI): the intentional destruction of one’s body tissue in the absence of conscious suicidal
intent and for purposes that are not socially or culturally sanctioned or accepted; not including tattoos or piercing.
Cutting Scratching/Scraping Burning
Wound interference Burning Hitting/bruising
Self-embedding: kids had embedded paperclips or staples into their skins
Onset and Sex Differences
Age at onset typically early-mid adolescence (can start at any age).
Sex differences no differences in overall rates but there are sex differences.
Methods females may cut more; males may burn/hit more.
Body location females: wrists, thighs, more repetitive; males: hands (often hitting things).
13.9 – 21.4% of youth and young adults have self-injured (based on even doing it one time).
University students: approx. 17% of students; 1 in 6; of this percent, 70% did it more than once (females tended to
repeat more than males).
NSSI & Emotionality
Negative emotionality: compare those who currently self-injure previously self-injured never self-injured
Those who currently self-injure report more negative emotionality than those who previously self-injured, but those
who never self-injured have less emotional emotionality compared to those who previously did; those who self-injure
may have more difficulty tolerating negative emotions and wish to escape them sooner.
NSSI & Experiential Avoidance
Experiential avoidance: any behaviour used to avoid or escape from unwanted internal experience or their triggers
(certain interactions or individuals that may cause discomfort); difficulty regulating emotion.
Experiential Avoidance Model
Stressor (receiving a poor grade, break up, death); some people react more to stressors than others.
Heightened emotional response high negative emotionality (experience greated degree of negative emotion;
sometimes they forget that it goes away with time) + emotion dysregulation = Experiential Avoidance
*Can then lead to NSSI; temporary relief acts to reinforce self-injury.
Some Reasons for NSSI
Affect regulation: most common; to relieve unwanted negative emotions; short term relief, leads to repeat.
Anti-dissociation: to stop feeling emotionally numb, to feel “real” & alleviate other dissociative experiences.
Anti-suicide: to avoid/replace the urge to die by suicide; to replace their more lethal urge.
Interpersonal communication: telling others that one is in pain, to get help from others, to get back at others; if you
can’t tell people you’re in pain or need help.
Self-punishment: second more common; to express hatred towards oneself, punish oneself and damage one’s body.
NSSI & Impulsivity
Glenn & Klonsky: examined impulsivity in university students with and without NSSI history; specifically, subtypes of
impulsivity were investigated –
Urgency: making rash decisions when emotionally upset
Perseverance: ability to stay on a task until completed; more ability to not be distracted
Premeditation: stopping an action so a plan can be made.
Sensation seeking: tendency to seek adventure/excitement; usually more impulsive.
- NSSI group had much higher urgency scores
- NSSI group had less premeditation and more sensation seeking
- Low perseverance was associated with more recent and frequent NSSI
Conclusion: the major differences in impulsivity may related to controlling urges when experiencing negative emotions
vs. impulsivity in general.
Implications: important to assess various subtypes of impulsivity & to teach emotion/urge resistance strategies when
treating NSSI; they cannot control the emotions they feel but can be taught how to deal with them.
NSSI & Suicide Risk
Longer history of NSSI Many NSSI methods no pain at time of NSSI NSSI occurs in isolation.
Suicide and Impulsivity
McGirr et al. 2008
Participants: examined impulsivitiy in 645 patients aged 18-87 who died by suicide.
Method: psychological autopsy; after death, interviewing family, friends, and collecting medical/psychiatric records to
Main finding: higher impulsivity played a more significant role in the suicide of younger individuals; and this was less the
case the older the individual.
Intrapersonal-Psychological Model of Suicide
Suicide occurs IF one has desire to die and the means to do so.
Desire to die: viewing yourself as a burden to others (perceived burdensomeness) and feeling social disconnected from
others or to something larger than oneself (thwarted belongingness).
Means to do so: fearlessness from prolonged/enduring psychological pain; this is higher in those who have a history of
attempted suicide and/or NSSI – this may involve impulsivity.
Risk: perceived burdensome and thwarted belongingness at one time paired with fear.
Suicide and Intervention
After comprehensive risk assessment:
Emotional regulation skills: teaching them how to cope when they do have the feelings.
Motivation interviewing: tries to target the ambivalence people have about stopping.
- The importance of personality in our daily lives; it impacts
o How we understand ourselves; our self-concepts, self-esteems, our social self.
o How we relate to others and how are reactions determine how people relate to us.
o Education, employment choice and job making decisions.
o Our legal system and criminality; who might commit crime
o Our physical health; personality can have to do with illness and susceptibility.
o Mental health and well being
o NSSI and suicide
December 12th, 11:30 am. ROZH 104
80 multiple choice questions
Since midterm 2
10 questions per class