Affective–interpersonal and impulsive–antisocial psychopathy: Links to social goals and forms of aggression in youth and adults.

Objective: Psychopathy has well-known links to aggression, but less is known about its specific dimensions in relation to social cognitions and forms of aggression. We examined affective–interpersonal and impulsive–antisocial dimensions of psychopathy in association with social goals and forms of aggression in youth and adults. Our goal was to demonstrate that the affective–interpersonal (but not impulsive–antisocial) dimension of psychopathy is linked to aggression via certain goals for social interaction. Method: Using path modeling, direct and indirect associations among the variables were examined in nonclinical adolescents (Study 1; N = 269) and young adults (Study 2; N = 253). Results: As expected, only affective–interpersonal psychopathy was uniquely positively associated with agentic (status) goals but negatively with communal (closeness) goals, and was related to proactive, reactive (Study 1), overt, and relational aggression (Study 2) indirectly via agentic goals, whereas impulsive–antisocial psychopathy was only directly linked to aggression. Conclusions: This study provides the first empirical evidence for the goal-directed nature of aggression in the context of affective–interpersonal psychopathy, with largely corresponding findings for nonclinical youth and adults. Aggression in the context of affective–interpersonal (but not impulsive–antisocial) psychopathy may be driven by high social status and low closeness goals for social interaction. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)