Antisocial, borderline, and narcissistic personality traits have been described as characteristics of intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetrators. Furthermore, deficits in cognitive empathy and impairments in emotional decoding processes may at least partially explain conduct disorders and social dysfunction in general. However, previous research has not explored potential associations between empathy deficits and the aforementioned traits or whether they are reflected in recidivism in IPV perpetrators.
Accordingly, the main aim of this study was to explore associations between empathy deficits, antisocial, borderline, and narcissistic traits and the risk of recidivism in this population.
The sample consisted of 144 IPV perpetrators (mean age = 41 years). High antisocial and borderline personality traits in this sample were associated with a high risk of recidivism, these relationships being moderated by poor empathy skills. Moreover, in IPV perpetrators with both antisocial and borderline personality traits, the risk of recidivism was higher than in those with only one of these traits. In contrast, narcissistic traits were unrelated to the risk of recidivism and impairments in empathy.
The results of our study highlight the importance of empathy deficits and may help professionals to develop specific intervention programs focusing on improving empathy skills in antisocial and borderline IPV perpetrators.
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University of Valencia, Spain
Violence Vict. 2016 Jan 29.
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