Psychopathic Traits, Substance Use, and Motivation to Change: An Integrative Approach with Juvenile Offenders

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Gillen, Christopher Thomas Alan




This study investigated the relationship between psychopathy and substance use (SU) and their interaction with motivation to change in predicting risk. Fifty-five adolescent offenders who admitted to using drugs or alcohol at least one time before their index offense were recruited from a south-eastern U.S. detention centre/court. Results indicated that psychopathy was related to a younger age of SU onset and increased severity of SU. However, this relationship appeared to be dependent on the self-report measure of psychopathy used. Psychopathy was only related to increased risk when motivation to change was low, even after controlling for the main effect of SU onset. These results offer initial support that psychopathy, SU, and motivation can be used as part of an integrative approach when working with juvenile offenders. However, more research is needed before such an approach can be used to inform long-term risk predictions or in planning specific treatment plans.




Carleton University

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