Family therapy interventions for psychopathy

Vilas Sawrikar*, David J. Hawes, Mark R. Dadds

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

Research into developmental aspects of antisocial behaviour and psychopathy has made strong progress in recent decades. The findings most notably informed by growing evidence regarding callous-unemotional (CU) traits suggest that the neurodevelopmental abnormalities associated with psychopathy emerge early in life, and are shaped by genetics, biology, and environmental factors. In line with this, initial trials of intervention programs for antisocial youth with CU traits have begun to show the potential for family-based interventions to reduce antisocial behaviour as well as CU traits when delivered early in life. Importantly, this research also suggests family interventions may need to be adapted to meet the unique needs of high CU youth. This chapter reviews current best approaches to adapting family interventions for antisocial youth with CU traits. We further argue that it is timely to examine the integration of current theories of antisocial behaviour with emerging scientific frameworks for personalizing clinical intervention. Three core issues are discussed in accordance with scientific frameworks for personalizing interventions relevant to adapting family interventions for high CU youth: (i) research supporting family interventions as an evidence supported treatment for antisocial behaviour as the primary problem (ii) research supporting family-based interventions as the best model of intervention for antisocial youth with CU traits, and (iii) putative treatment strategies that may be integrated or adapted for family interventions such that programs are tailored to the unique developmental aspects of antisocial behaviour among high CU youth. An evaluation of promising best-treatment approach(es) is discussed as well as future directions for research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Complexity of Psychopathy
EditorsJennifer E. Vitale
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9783030831561
ISBN (Print)9783030831554, 9783030831578
Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar 2022

Publication series

NameDangerous Behavior in Clinical and Forensic Psychology
ISSN (Print)2524-4051

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • antisocial behaviour
  • callous-unemotional traits
  • psychopathy
  • family interventions
  • parenting
  • personalizing interventions


Dive into the research topics of 'Family therapy interventions for psychopathy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this