Psychopathy and emotion dysregulation: More than meets the eye

Carlo Garofalo*, C.S. Neumann, D.S. Kosson, P. Velotti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Emotional dysfunctions have long been associated with psychopathy. Yet, the extent to which these dysfunctions include problems in emotion regulation (ER) has only recently become clearer. In this study, we first reviewed theoretical and empirical literature on psychopathy and ER, and then examined associations between ER and psychopathy in four diverse samples from two countries (MTurk, college, community, and offender samples from the United States and Italy; total N = 1940). We employed Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) to examine latent associations between ER and measures of psychopathy and the dark triad, respectively. Results revealed a consistent pattern of moderate associations between psychopathy and poorer ER. These patterns were replicated across samples and psychopathy assessment, and held when including Machiavellianism and narcissism in the models. Replicating and extending recent studies, these findings provide incremental evidence that the emotional dysfunctions associated with psychopathy include problems in ER. Thus, we contend that prevention efforts in the general community, as well as clinical risk assessment and treatment planning in clinical (forensic) populations should include an emphasis on ER, as it may represent an important factor explaining some of the maladaptive correlates of psychopathic personality.
Original languageEnglish
Article number113160
JournalPsychiatry Research
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020

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