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Antisocial Personality Disorder


Antisocial Personality Disorder:

Also referred to as sociopathy or psychopathy
Individuals exhibit antisocial behaviour
Antisocial Behaviour:
Verbally or physically harmful to others, animals and/or property
Seriously violates social expectations or norms
Two components:
Presence of antisocial behaviour
Absence of prosocial behaviour

Natural for children to exhibit some antisocial behaviour during development

High levels of antisocial behaviour considered a clinical condition
Antisocial personality disorder is only diagnosed in adults, but bears resemblance to
conduct disorder
Approximately 4% of the population suffers from antisocial personality disorder
3% men
1% women

Oppositional-Defiant Disorder:
Sufferers: Young children hostile
towards authority
Can lead to conduct disorder

Conduct Disorder:
Sufferers: Older children who lie,
steal and behave violently.
A small number of these children
who do not improve with
maturation develop antisocial
personality disorder



Family problems: unstable marriage, harsh/inconsistent discipline child abuse

(physical or sexual), frequent changes in residence or primary caregiver, learning
disabilities etc.

Neurological disorders, low IQ, low socioeconomic status and

having a parent who suffers from the disorder or substance abuse
increases the likelihood of developing antisocial personality disorder

A child may behave antisocially for a period of time when a

stressor occurs, but this is not considered a clinical condition
Stressor: traumatic event in ones life such as the death of a parent


Sources (pics, left to right):


Non conformity to social norms
Deceitful and manipulative towards
others, often to get something (ex.
money, drugs)
Impulsive, long list of past
residences and employments
Irritable, aggressive and engages
in physical violence
A reckless disregard for the safety
of themselves and others
Consistently irresponsible, inability
to hold down or find a job, fails to
do such things as pay bills
No conscience
Shows few feelings beyond
contempt for others


Treatments and Therapies:

Children and Adolescents:
Possible if intervention is soon enough, though difficult
Primary treatment: therapy
Goal: to develop positive behaviour to replace negative ones
Systematic, designed to improve communication within a group,
often the family or a group of similar children
Methods include: modeling, role-playing, corrective feedback and
reinforcement systems
Success is largely dependent on the cognitive capacity and
emotional development of the individual

Most severe cases medication used to control behaviour

Extremely difficult to treat
Often a chronic condition
Some medications aid in controlling behaviour
However, non compliance and abuse prevent widespread use