Toronto: People with higher levels of psychopathic tendencies are more likely to assault their romantic partners, a study has found.
Psychopathy, sometimes also known as sociopathy, is traditionally defined as a personality disorder characterised by persistent antisocial behaviour, impaired empathy and remorse, and bold, disinhibited, egotistical traits.
The study recently published in the journal Law and Human Behaviour also showed that people with psychopathic tendencies tended to drink more alcohol.
However, it is their personality traits more than substance use that is associated with violence, the researchers stated.
"Having higher levels of psychopathic personality traits is an important predictor of how likely someone is to engage in intimate partner violence," said Zach Walsh, Associate Professor at University of British Columbia (UBC), Okanagan in Vancouver, Canada.
The association between psychopathic personality traits and violence was consistent across both students and psychiatric patients, the study said.
In the present study, the researchers aimed to enhance understanding of risk for intimate partner violence perpetration by examining the consistency of the association between psychopathy and violence across levels of alcohol use and gender.
The study involved looking at data and police reports involving 700 US civil psychiatric patients in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as well as 870 students at UBC's campus in Kelowna, BC.
"With further investigation, this research may be able to assist policy makers and service providers in their efforts to both predict and reduce violence among couples," Walsh said in the paper.