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Personality Characteristics as Predictors of Institutional Violence among Incarcerated Women

25 July 2011


There remains little research about violence in prison among women and the role that personality characteristics take in producing such violence. This study examined the ability of borderline, antisocial, and psychopathic personality pathology to accurately discriminate between first-time female inmates who did and did not engage in institutional violence. Measures used in the sample included the PCL-R, DSM-IV-TR symptoms of Borderline and Antisocial Personality Disorder, and the Antisocial Features and Borderline Features scales of the Personality Assessment Inventory. There was a low to moderate base rate of violence in the sample (25% over one year) and low correlations among variables. Receiver Operating Characteristic analyses were conducted to elicit the most useful information from the sample. Psychopathy and measures of antisocial pathology were poor measures of violence discrimination, but measures of borderline symptomotology had moderate ability to discriminate between inmates who did and did not engage in institutional violence. Implications of the data are discussed.


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