Recent research indicates an increase in the prevalence of psychopathic traits in the general population. Debate surrounding the influences of insecure maternal and paternal attachment relationships and their associations with psychopathic traits has been increasing; whereas focus on insecure maternal attachment was more prevalent, insecure paternal attachment has not been researched as much despite their similar impact. This study aimed to investigate the associations between the constructs of parent adult-child relationships and their associations with primary and secondary psychopathic traits in a non-clinical population of 211 young adults, ranging between 18-40 years of age. The role of attachment was assessed using the Relationship Scale Questionnaire and the Parent Adult-Child Relationship Questionnaire. The Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale was used to assess psychopathic traits. Findings indicated that individuals with dismissive and fearful attachments had higher scores of both primary and secondary psychopathic traits in contrast to secure attached individuals who scored low on these traits. Substantively, a relationship with fathers characterised by increased responsibility and control predicted higher scores on the primary and secondary psychopathic traits. Findings emphasise the significant overlap between both dismissive and fearful attachment and the prediction of psychopathic traits. Substantially relationships with fathers are stressed.
- primary and secondary psychopathic traits
- maternal attachment
- parental attachment
- paternal attachment
- young adults