The Relationship between Psychopathic Traits and Attachment Behavior in a Non-Clinical Population

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Personality and Individual Differences





Attachment processes have been proposed to play a key role in the development of the core features of psychopathy (Fowles & Dindo, 2006). The findings reported in the literature regarding the associations between attachment and psychopathic traits are far from conclusive, especially in non-clinical populations. The present study investigated the relationship between self-reported attachment behavior and psychopathic traits in a college sample. Two-hundred nine participants completed the Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised scale and the Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy scale. Controlling for gender and race, hierarchical multiple regression analyses indicated that individuals high in both attachment avoidance and attachment anxiety had higher primary psychopathy scores. Both individuals high in attachment avoidance and individuals high in attachment anxiety had higher secondary psychopathy scores. Implications of these findings for future research and clinical practice are discussed.