The effects of temperament, psychopathy, and childhood trauma among delinquent youth: A test of DeLisi and Vaughn's temperament-based theory of crime

Matt DeLisi, Bryanna H. Fox, Matthew Fully, Michael G. Vaughn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Recent interest among criminologists on the construct of temperament has been fueled by DeLisi and Vaughn's (2014) temperament-based theory of antisocial behavior. Their theory suggests that core self-regulation capacity and negative emotionality are the most salient temperament features for understanding the emergence and maintenance of antisocial and violent behavior, even among offending populations. The present study tests the relative effects of these temperamental features along with psychopathic traits and trauma in their association with violent and non-violent delinquency in a sample of 252 juvenile offenders. Results from a series of negative binomial regression models indicate that temperament was uniformly more strongly associated with violent and non-violent delinquency than psychopathic traits and childhood traumatic events. Exploratory classification models suggested that temperament and psychopathy possessed similar predictive capacity, but neither surpassed prior history of violence and delinquency as a predictor of future offending. Overall, findings are supportive of DeLisi and Vaughn's temperament-based theory and suggest temperament as conceptualized and measured in the present study may play an important role as a risk factor for violent and non-violent delinquency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-60
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Law and Psychiatry
Volume57
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Mar

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Law

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