||Psychopathic Traits and Empathic Functioning
in Detained Juveniles: Withdrawal Response to
, , and |
||International Journal of Forensic Mental Health
||Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, P.O.
Box 303, 1115 ZG Duivendrecht, The Netherlands.
autonomic nervous system
||In order to gain insight in empathic deficits in juveniles with severe antisocial problems and
psychopathic traits, self-reported psychopathic traits and trait empathy were assessed in 416
detained male juveniles. State empathy was assessed by self-reported empathic and autonomic
nervous system (ANS) responses to sad film clips. Psychopathic traits were significantly
negatively correlated with empathy, although not with ANS responses. Individuals
reporting no empathy showed significantly less heart rate withdrawal compared to individuals
reporting higher empathy. This implies that physiological responses may be helpful in
identifying juveniles with severely impaired empathic functioning, even in a severely antisocial