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Antisocial Personality Disorder Essay

1743 words - 7 pages

This study examines previous research of antisocial personality disorder. Both biological and psychological research was examined. This paper will attempt to identify common environmental factors shared among people with antisocial personality disorder.
Undoubtedly, the first question asked by many upon the gruesome discovery of a murder victim is, “Who could commit such a heinous crime?” Newspaper journalists, broadcast reporters, and the public alike, have asked the question, “What kind of person is capable of taking another person’s life?” A person with Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD) is capable of just that and much more. Common careers of people ...view middle of the document...

There is a mentionable conflict as to the distinction between antisocial personality disorder (APD) as a diagnosed disorder, and the defining differences between APD and psychopathic behaviors. This writer is compelled to include acknowledgement of the possibility that APD and psychopathic behavior may be two distinct disorders that share some common characteristics and behaviors. Some researchers have theorized that psychopathic behavior is a sub group of APD. This theory will not be included in this paper. For the scope of this paper, the writer will assume APD, antisocial behavior, and psychopathic behavior are the same disorder, and resulting behaviors too similar to differentiate.
APD is not the sole result of inherited genes, but instead environmentally created. Many environmental factors contribute to the development of antisocial personality disorder. The Antisocial Personality also points out specifically, that poor parenting may be to blame. (Lykken, 1995) This paper will attempt to determine that
H-1 People with APD often share common environmental factors.
The majority of research conducted on Antisocial Personality Disorder originates from studies of childhood onset of antisocial characterized behavior, comorbidity of substance abuse and the antisocial person, and antisocial behavior as demonstrated by incarcerated persons. Most studies into APD concentrate only on demonstrated antisocial behavior in children. There is however, a growing interest in the direct causes of APD in general. The studies of the latter are, for the most part still in progress. The reliability of such research demands that it be longitudinal in nature, which also accounts for the lack of published research.
The research published to date indicates a strong support of the theory that persons displaying antisocial personality behaviors share common environmental factors. Specifically, there is a correlation between antisocial behavior and children reared in a home wrought with chemical dependency, marital problems, and abuse. (Luntz, Widom, 1994)
Analysis of the research conducted concerning a causal relationship between genetics and APD requires knowledge of the role of the prefrontal cortex of the brain in respect to behavior. The prefrontal cortex contains gray and white matter, and is the portion of the brain thought to be essential to the processes of fear conditioning, regulation of arousal, and in the ability to reason. (Raine, et al. 2000) Current research is beginning to show a link between damage to the prefrontal cortex and the acquiring of behaviors characteristic of APD. The suggestion this research makes open the door to additional research into the differences in prefrontal cortex of people with lifelong APD, and people without APD. A study designed to measure prefrontal gray and white matter in subjects with APD was conducted by the University of Southern California, and led by Dr. Adrian...

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