Psychopaths May Be More Likely to Assault Romantic Partners

By Janice Wood
April 28th, 2022
Medically reviewed by Paul Sietes, MD.
Psychopaths May Be More Likely to Assault Romantic Partners

People with higher psychopathic tendencies are more likely to assault their romantic partners, according to a new study.

They are also more likely to drink alcohol, according to researchers at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus.

The study involved looking at data and police reports involving 700 psychiatric patients in Pittsburgh, Penn., as well as 870 students at University of British Columbia’s campus in Kelowna, B.C.

“In this research, we noted that having higher levels of psychopathic personality traits is an important predictor of how likely someone is to engage in intimate partner violence,” said Dr. Zach Walsh, an associate professor of psychology and the study’s principal investigator.

“While we also found that people with psychopathic tendencies tended to drink more alcohol, the data tells us it is their personality traits more than substance use that is associated with violence.

“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,” he noted.

The researchers also found that the association between psychopathic personality traits and violence was consistent across both students and psychiatric patients.

The study was recently published in the journal Law and Human Behaviour.

Source: University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus
Photo: Associate Professor Zach Walsh, University of British Columbia Okanagan campus Credit: UBC.

Janice Wood is a long-time writer and editor who began working at a daily newspaper before graduating from college. She has worked at a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites, covering everything from aviation to finance to healthcare.