Affinity Between Us: Examining How Psychopathic Traits Influence the Stigmatization of Psychiatric Disorders

Guillaume Durand*, Robyn E. Metcalfe, Ioana-Smarandita Arbone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Psychopathy is a personality disorder that is often stigmatized in both the general population and in legal settings. Although individuals with psychopathy face significant stigma, individuals with elevated psychopathic traits may hold fewer stigmatizing beliefs about this population. It is unclear, however, if this relationship stems from feelings of similarity or from traits of fearlessness that are commonly observed in some psychopathic individuals. In this study, 661 participants from the community were recruited online and completed the Triarchic Psychopathy Measure. They were then randomly assigned to read a description of either a nonviolent or violent psychopath, as well as either a nonviolent or violent person with schizophrenia. All participants also read a vignette of a nondangerous person with depression. For each description, participants completed the Attribution Questionnaire to measure stigmatizing attributes based on the vignette. Psychopathic traits were negatively associated with the stigmatization of individuals presented as either dangerous or nondangerous psychopaths, but were not associated with either forms of schizophrenia or with depression. Findings are explained in terms of identification with psychopaths.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-556
Number of pages6
JournalPersonality Disorders-Theory Research and Treatment
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • psychopathic traits
  • stigmatization
  • familiarity
  • psychiatric disorders

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