Psychopathic Traits' Differential Relations With Aggression Forms: Considering the Roles of Gender and Gender Role Adherence

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Research has yielded inconsistent findings between psychopathy and aggression, with findings varying as a function of type of psychopathic trait (i.e., affective, behavioral) and aggression form (i.e., physical, relational). Although some research has explored the role of gender in these relations, gender role adherence has received scant attention. Using an undergraduate sample (N = 320), we aimed to clarify mixed findings on how psychopathic traits relate to aggression forms across males and females; examine how psychopathic traits relate to gender role adherence; and ascertain the roles of gender and gender role adherence in the relations between psychopathic traits and aggression. Psychopathic traits manifested differential relations with gender role adherence such that Psychopathic Personality Inventory-Revised (PPI-R) Fearless Dominance was most strongly and positively associated with Bem Sex-Role Inventory (BSRI) Masculinity, whereas PPI-R Self-Centered Impulsivity and Coldheartedness were negatively associated with BSRI Femininity. BSRI Masculinity and Femininity were uniquely and differentially associated with aggression forms, and remained associated with aggression forms above and beyond both psychopathy and gender. In addition, BSRI Masculinity moderated the relations between PPI-R Self-Centered Impusivity and physical aggression such that those high in both Masculinity and Self-Centered Impulsivity were most prone to physical aggression. In contrast, although BSRI Femininity was negatively associated with aggression, it did not buffer against aggression in the presence of psychopathic traits. Overall, our results underscore the importance of considering gender role adherence in understanding differences in psychopathy and aggression. Read More:

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Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology





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