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Psychosocial adjustment problems: Individual and acculturation differences
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS).
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis addresses individual and environmental risk factors in the development of adjustment problems and antisocial behaviour. Namely, temperament and character, anxiety, psychopathic-like traits, antisocial attitudes, alcohol use, and parental rearing strategies are explored as risk factors for behaviour problems in childhood, adolescence and adulthood. When interpreting results of specific studies, an ecological framework is applied to take into account socio-cultural and acculturation circumstances.

In Studies I and II, the subjects under investigation are incarcerated Russian detainees aged 14-19 years (n=250). The main purpose of Study I was to investigate the validity of the Antisocial Process Screening Device (APSD) in a sample of Russian juvenile delinquents. Study II examined the relationship between psychopathy and violent behaviour. An association between psychopathy and quality of life is explored in Study III, using a sample of Swedish early criminals and controls aged 38-41 years (n=199). In Study IV, international and national college students aged 17-51 years (n=246), are studied regarding perceived adjustment stressors and acculturational differences.

The results suggested good validity of the APSD in the Russian male detainees. Additionally, the results support a dimensional aspect of the psychopathy construct as measured by the PCL and APSD, and suggest that individual and environmental antecedents of psychopathy may differ between the distinct psychopathy factors. The more violent group showed higher levels of psychopathic traits and physical aggression, had more alcohol related problems, and perceived antisocial behavior as more ‘normative’. Moreover, impulsiveness, anger, verbal aggression and antisocial attitudes discriminated between the psychopathic and non-psychopathic subgroups. The results further indicated that self reported quality of life was poorer among individuals with psychopathic-like traits. Finally, grouping the detainees, criminals and controls, as well as the students according to their unique needs seemed to be beneficial, not only regarding psychopathic-like traits, violent behaviour and antisocial attitudes, but also in the context of acculturation and adjustment processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Psykologiska institutionen , 2008. , 76 p.
Series
Health Equity Studies, ISSN 1651-5390 ; 11
Keyword [en]
personality, antisocial behavior, violence, alcohol, culture, socialization, acculturation
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-7757ISBN: 978-91-7155-658-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-7757DiVA: diva2:198978
Public defence
2008-06-12, Aula Svea, Socialhögskolan, Sveaplan, Stockholm, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2008-05-21 Created: 2008-05-19 Last updated: 2010-01-13Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Antisocial process screening device: Validation on a Russian sample of juvenile delinquents with the emphasis on the role of personality and parental rearing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Antisocial process screening device: Validation on a Russian sample of juvenile delinquents with the emphasis on the role of personality and parental rearing
2008 (English)In: International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, ISSN 0160-2527, Vol. 31, no 5, 438-446 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The objectives of the present study were 1) to validate the Antisocial Process Screening Device (APSD) in a sample of Russian juvenile delinquents; 2) to examine subgroups of delinquents with higher versus lower levels of childhood problem behaviors with respect to the APSD subscales, personality traits, and parental rearing; and 3) to attempt to replicate the previous finding that the APSD subscale measuring callous/unemotional traits can differentiate subgroups of delinquents with different precursors for problem behaviors (predominantly biological versus predominantly social). A group of 250 Russian juvenile inmates (mean age = 16.4) was examined by means of the APSD completed by the staff at the correctional institution. The inmates completed several self-reports assessing their current and childhood behavior problems, personality traits and experienced parental rearing practices. A factor structure of the APSD was obtained that is similar, albeit not identical, to that from the original studies by Frick and colleagues [Frick, P.J., O'Brien, B.S., Wootton, J.M., McBurnett, K., (1994). Psychopathy and conduct problems in children. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 103, 700–707]; [Frick, P.J., Barry, C.T., Bodin, S.D., (1999). Applying the concept of psychopathy to children: Implications for the Assessment of antisocial youth. In Gacono, C.B. (Ed), The clinical and forensic assessment of psychopathy: A practitioners guide. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum]; [Frick, P.J., Lilienfeld, S.O., Ellis, M., Loney, B., Silverthorn, P., (1999). The association between anxiety and psychopathy dimensions in children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 27, 383–392]; callous unemotional traits in the present sample were expressed in manipulative behavior. Results further disclosed higher levels of antisocial and aggressive activities, higher levels of personality attributes such as narcissism and novelty seeking, as well as lower cooperativeness, and negatively perceived parental rearing in a subgroup with higher (versus lower) number of childhood symptoms of conduct disorder and oppositional disorder. The juvenile delinquents with higher levels as compared to lower levels of callous unemotional traits also perceived their parents as using more negative rearing strategies. The findings are discussed in terms of interactional processes between personality of the juvenile delinquents and parental rearing in the development of antisocial behavior.

Keyword
delinquent adolescents, conduct problems, personality, parental rearing, psychopathy
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-14800 (URN)doi:10.1016/j.ijlp.2008.08.003 (DOI)000260755100007 ()
Available from: 2008-11-03 Created: 2008-11-03 Last updated: 2011-01-10Bibliographically approved
2. Psychopathy and violence in juvenile delinquents: What are the associated factors?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Psychopathy and violence in juvenile delinquents: What are the associated factors?
Show others...
2008 (English)In: International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, ISSN 0160-2527, Vol. 31, no 3, 272-279 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The purpose of the present study was a) to examine the discriminative power of the Antisocial Process Screening Device (APSD), aggressive traits, impulsiveness, antisocial attitudes and alcohol-related problems between subgroups of Russian juvenile delinquents (n = 175) with low versus high levels of violent behavior; and b) to compare the predictive value of these variables in two subgroups defined by higher versus lower levels of psychopathic traits. Results demonstrated that the APSD score, traits of physical aggression and alcohol-related problems were able to discriminate between groups with various levels of violence. Furthermore, the level of violence was the only variant factor when comparing levels of psychopathy. Finally, different sets of predictors emerged for the group with higher versus lower psychopathy scores. The results are discussed in relation to specific features of psychopathy and environmental factors in general and the use of alcohol in particular.

Keyword
psychopathy, aggression, alcohol-related problems, juvenile delinquents
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-14797 (URN)doi:10.1016/j.ijlp.2008.04.010 (DOI)000258051600010 ()
Available from: 2009-01-09 Created: 2009-01-09 Last updated: 2011-01-10Bibliographically approved
3. Quality of Life - Towards an understanding of individuals with psychopathic tendencies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Quality of Life - Towards an understanding of individuals with psychopathic tendencies
2009 (English)In: Personality and Mental Health, ISSN 1932-8621, Vol. 3, no 3, 183-192 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The objectives are to explore: (1) the association between psychopathy and self-rated quality of life; and (2) the possible role of childhood hyperactivity on the relationships between Psychopathy Checklist (PCL) scores and self-rated domains of Quality of Life (QoL). Male subjects with a history of criminality at age 11-14 years (n = 108) and matched controls (n = 59) from a Swedish longitudinal project were studied. Self-rated QoL domains of psychological health, family relationships and work satisfaction were dichotomized and used as dependent variables in calculations of odds ratios (ORs) with dichotomized PCL scores as the independent variable, as assessed at age 38-41. The results showed that for each of the three QoL domains, the proportion of individuals that reported dissatisfaction was significantly higher in both criminals and controls characterized by psychopathic tendencies (PT) compared with the groups with no psychopathic tendencies. Furthermore, the results revealed higher strata-specific risk of dissatisfaction among the PT individuals for two of the domains: psychological health (OR = 6.58) and work satisfaction (OR = 7.98). Childhood hyperactivity individuals were overrepresented in the PT group. However, hyperactivity did not confound the association between PCL and QoL. The results are discussed in the light of possible treatment implications.

Keyword
psychopathy, quality of life
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-34662 (URN)10.1002/pmh.76 (DOI)000283102500004 ()
Note
This research was financially supported by grants from the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research (Dnr 2007–0539 to ÖH) and the Mobilizing against Drugs Committee, Sweden (Dnr 20/2003:9 to BaK). Special thanks are forwarded to Professor Ilona Koupil for editing work and to Reidar Österman for valuable collaboration on statistical issues.Available from: 2010-01-11 Created: 2010-01-11 Last updated: 2010-01-13Bibliographically approved
4. Stressors, Anxiety and Adjustment among International and North American Students
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Stressors, Anxiety and Adjustment among International and North American Students
2008 (English)In: International Journal of Intercultural Relations, ISSN 0147-1767, Vol. 32, no 3, 244-259 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The acculturation process generally contributes greatly to stress and anxiety levels among international students. The objectives of the present study were: (1) to see whether international students experience more anxiety, irritability, and stress from being apart from family and friends, pressure from school, difficulties with language, work and finances than students with permanent US residency, and (2) to investigate the same stressors in groups within the international student population. Surveys were distributed to 246 students aged 17–51 at an ethnically diverse community college in Southern California, US. Analysis of variance was conducted to investigate group differences between students: permanent US residents vs. international students, and, permanent US residents vs. European and Asian students, respectively. No significant differences were found between international students and students with permanent US residency. However, when the international student population was sub-grouped by above cultural regions a different pattern emerged. Difficulties of not being able to work and of socially related problems were perceived as more severe for the European and the Asian groups, while finance problems were hard for all three groups. The variable of language difficulties was harder for Asian students, while that of stress of being apart from family was harder for students from Europe. Findings are not only congruent with prior research results on international students but also demonstrate that international students with culturally diverse needs should not be considered as one homogenous group. It is suggested that educational systems need to properly adapt in order to accommodate international students’ unique cultural needs.

Keyword
stressor, anxiety, adjustment, acculturation, international students, cultural psychology
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-11731 (URN)doi:10.1016/j.ijintrel.2008.01.001 (DOI)000256934700005 ()
Note
Great appreciation is given to Professor Britt af Klinteberg, Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, for her continuous support, constructive attitude, and creative input.Available from: 2008-11-04 Created: 2008-11-04 Last updated: 2011-01-10Bibliographically approved

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