Insecure attachment has been linked with psychopathic traits however, the precise relationship between the avoidance and anxiety attachment dimensions and primary and secondary psychopathic traits needs further research. Furthermore, the use of cognitive emotion regulation strategies (CERS) in individuals with psychopathic traits has been increasing, however, little is known about the unique association of adaptive and maladaptive CERS in relation to primary and secondary psychopathic traits. This study aimed to explore the relationship between adult insecure attachment dimensions and CERS with both primary and secondary traits in a non-clinical sample of 338 adults ranging between 18 and 70 years of age (231 of which were females). Findings indicated that having an avoidant attachment, blaming others and positively reappraising situations contributed to the prediction of primary psychopathic traits, while putting into perspective was identified as a protective factor. In contrast, having an anxious attachment and catastrophizing arose as risk factors for secondary psychopathic traits. Findings highlight the need to evaluate psychopathic variants as heterogeneous constructs, as both attachment dimensions and CERS uniquely relate to primary and secondary psychopathic traits.
- primary psychopathy
- secondary psychopathy
- cognitive emotion regulation strategies