Exploring Antisocial Worldview and Trait Psychopathy Development in Australian Adults  Using a Mixed-Method Approach

Hayley, A. (Deakin University), Mayshak, R. (Deakin University), Vroom, J. (Deakin University), Chalmers, K. (Deakin University), Montgomery-Farrer, B. (Monash University)

Aim: These studies explored how social modelling of worldviews by parents to their children is associated with the development of antisocial worldviews and trait psychopathy in adults, using Levenson’s two-factor trait psychopathy model. Method: An Australian community sample (N=346) aged 18-77 years (M=35.56, SD=12.65, 69% women) completed an online survey (Study 1). A similar sample (N=577) aged 18-98 years (M=42.04, SD=17.06, 55% women) completed a mixed-method online survey (Study 2 and 3). Results: Regression-based analyses found participants’ antisocial beliefs mediated the effect of parents’ antisocial beliefs on both primary and secondary trait psychopathy, for both men and women. Qualitative analyses explored consistency between valence of parent and participant worldviews, value-laden beliefs and ideologies informing participant worldviews, and perceived parents influence on the development of participants’ worldview, to provide context for quantitative results. Implications: Social modelling of antisocial worldviews by parents has developmental implications for the child’s worldview and disposition toward psychopathy. Qualitative findings highlight a high prevalence of ambiguous worldviews (not merely ‘prosocial’ or ‘antisocial’), characterised by a desire for prosociality marred by fear of exploitation. These findings suggest two opportunities for intervention to ameliorate antisociality broadly and psychopathy specifically, via parents’ social modelling and by challenging adults’ ambiguous worldviews.


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Personality and Personality Development