Abnormal Psychology: Mental Health and Mental Illness

Disorders of Personality

What is antisocial personality disorder?

People with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) have a severe deficit in morality. They are characterized by callous and exploitive behavior and by a lack of empathy or remorse. In keeping with the often impulsive and reckless behavior associated with this disorder, ASPD is classified as a Cluster B personality disorder. A related term for this type of personality is psychopathy. Unsurprisingly, people with ASPD are particularly common in prison populations. According to DSM-IV, a person with this disorder demonstrates a pervasive pattern of disregard for the rights of others as evidenced by at least three of the following criteria: repeatedly engaging in illegal behavior; frequently lying, using aliases, or conning others for personal profit; demonstrating impulsivity and lack of future planning; exhibiting irritability and aggressiveness; showing reckless disregard for the safety of self and others; being consistently irresponsible, with repeated failures to sustain employment or fulfill financial obligations; lacking remorse, as evident in indifference to, or rationalization of, hurting, mistreating, or stealing from others. This definition has been criticized, however, for being too focused on behavior instead of personality traits and also for requiring evidence of conduct disorder (a childhood variant of ASPD) before the age of fifteen.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Psychology Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App