Biobehavioral Mechanisms Underlying Emotionality in Antisocial Personality Disorder and the Role of Psychopathic Traits
Sargeant, Marsha Nneka
Daughters, Stacey B
As one possible mechanism for behaviors associated with Antisocial Personality Disorder, the DSM-IV indicates that individuals with ASPD have low tolerance for frustration. A study investigating the relationship between ASPD and distress tolerance (DT) indicated that ASPD was related to low DT, indexed as low persistence on laboratory stressor tasks. The interpretation of this finding is clouded by the co-occurrence of psychopathy and ASPD. We examined whether psychopathic traits are related to higher DT and low biological stress response in the form of cortisol reactivity to a stressor. Results lent support to the relation of ASPD and psychopathic traits to DT; however, cortisol reactivity was not significantly related to ASPD or psychopathic traits. Nevertheless, discrepant patterns of stress reactivity emerged for individuals with ASPD and high levels of psychopathic traits. These findings suggest unique contributions of ASPD and psychopathic traits to emotionality across behavioral and biological domains.