Antisocial Personality Disorder and Understanding Criminal Behavior

Essay by studentidUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, June 2007

download word file, 4 pages 5.0 1 reviews

If one mans "freedom fighter" is another mans "terrorist", than surely one mans "criminal" is another mans "saint". Elaborating on the causes of criminal behavior can be complex, especially when trying to wrestle with the obvious subjective nature of "criminality" and trying to define the causes of an individual's intent to commit a crime or pursue a criminal lifestyle. In studying criminal behavior, there are various factors that can account for the reasons why criminals behave in ways that are contrary to the way that the majority of people behave, at least, those who are law abiding citizens. Looking at all the factors, it is difficult to hold one factor primarily responsible when attempting to explaining why crime occurs. However, when ranked in terms of importance, Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD) is the single most prevalent factor in understanding the root causes of criminal behavior.

Several prominent studies show that APD is a strong predictor of criminal activity and is exhibited frequently among the prison population (up to 50%), according to the Public Health Agency of Canada (2002).

It follows that these studies show a strong connection between the condition and criminality.

For a better understanding of how APD is an indicator for the likelihood of offending, it must be defined. "Antisocial personality disorder (APD) is characterized by a failure to conform to standards of decency; repeated lying and stealing; a failure to sustain lasting, loving relationships; low tolerance of boredom; and a complete lack of guilt" (Carlson N.R., Buskist W., Enzle M.E., & Heth C.D., 2005) and is also described as having a disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others (American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 1994). This definition as well as the statistical finding that APD is found in a rather large...