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Impulsive criminal behaviour in adolescents : different pathways, and relationships with personality disorders Petitclerc, Amélie


The purpose of this study was to describe different types of impulsive behaviour expressed in the course of adolescents' criminal acts, and explore their relationships with different types of violence and relevant personality disorders (psychopathy and borderline personality disorder). The model of disinhibition developed by J.P. Newman and J.F. Wallace (1992, 1993), on the basis of laboratory-based results, was adapted to the context of criminal behaviour. Participants were 29 adjudicated young male offenders who consented to take part in two interviews, complete a questionnaire (the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale - Version 11; Patton, Stanford, & Barratt, 1995) and give access to their files. File and interview information were used to assess psychopathy (via the Psychopathy Checklist - Youth Version; Forth, Kosson, & Hare, 1994) and borderline personality disorder (via the criteria from the Revised Diagnostic Interview for Borderlines; Gunderson & Zanarini, 1983). A manual for coding crime impulsivity was developed and used in this study. Consistent with hypotheses, impulsive behaviour driven by strong emotions was associated with both psychopathy and borderline personality disorder, and was involved in hostile/reactive violence. Contrary to hypotheses, impulsive behaviour characterised by a failure to shift attention was unrelated to psychopathy.

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