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Title: Psychopathic Traits and Empathic Functioning in Detained Juveniles: Withdrawal Response to Empathic Sadness
Author(s): Esther L. de Ruigh, Lucres M. C. Jansen, Robert Vermeiren and Arne Popma
Journal: International Journal of Forensic Mental Health
Year: 2019
Pages: 1-14
Affiliation: Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, P.O. Box 303, 1115 ZG Duivendrecht, The Netherlands.
DOI: 10.1080/14999013.2019.1577317
ISSN: 1499-9013
File URL: /vuams-pubs/Psychopathic_Traits_and_Empathic_Functioning_in_Detained_Juveniles_-_Withdrawal_Response_to_Empathic_Sadness.pdf
Keywords: Detained juveniles; psychopathic traits; empathy; state/trait; autonomic nervous system
Abstract: 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 sample.

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