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Personality features in university students : links between impulsivity, aggressiveness and psychopathic characteristics


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Mizzi, RA 2010 , 'Personality features in university students : links between impulsivity, aggressiveness and psychopathic characteristics', Coursework Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Literature review
Traditionally, aggressiveness and impulsivity have been defined,
measured and predicted based on the overt behaviour that is often displayed by
those who possess a high level of these characteristics. As such, this has led to a
view of human nature as either impulsive, aggressive or neither. This paper
explores current theories regarding the development of aggressiveness and
impulsivity and their nature, and argues that impulsivity and aggressiveness can
be conceptualised as personality characteristics that exist on a continuum, and
that each and every individual possesses some level of both. This paper further
examines the nature and development of psychopathy as a personality disorder,
and posits that this cluster of interrelated but relatively independent facets is also
dimensional in nature. Finally, the current paper examines the role of impulsivity
and aggressiveness in psychopathy, and suggests directions for future research.

Empirical study
The present study investigated the role of impulsivity and aggressiveness in
subclinical psychopathy within an undergraduate university sample. One hundred
and fifty three participants (122 female, 28 male, 3 gender unidentified)
completed self-report measures in the areas of impulsivity, aggressiveness and
psychopathy. Correlation analysis and stepwise regression models were
constructed in accordance with the aim of the study, which was to clarify the role
of impulsivity and aggressiveness in psychopathic characteristics, and to
determine the utility of self-report measures in psychopathy research. The results
of the study supported the hypothesis predicting a positive relationship between
impulsivity, aggressiveness and psychopathy scores, and that high levels of both
impulsivity and aggression were a better predictor of psychopathy scores than
either impulsivity or aggressiveness alone. Partial support was received for the
hypotheses predicting differential relationships between components of
impulsivity, aggressiveness and psychopathy. Specifically, impulsivity scores
were found to significantly correlate with the erratic lifestyle scale. However, a
significant negative relationship was not found between empathy scores and
callous affect scores, contrary to predictions. Post hoe stepwise regression was
undertaken to examine which, if any, aspects of impulsivity and aggressiveness
were predictive of aspects of psychopathy. The results of the post hoe analysis
were discussed with reference to current theories regarding the nature of

Item Type: Thesis - Coursework Master
Authors/Creators:Mizzi, RA
Keywords: College students, Aggressiveness, Impulse, Antisocial personality disorders
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2010 the author

Additional Information:

Thesis (MPsych(Clin))--University of Tasmania, 2010. Includes bibliographical references

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