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Personality and trait aggression profiles of male and female prison inmates

Journal article
Authors Örjan Falk
Anis Sfendla
Sven Brändström
Henrik Anckarsäter
Thomas Nilsson
Nora Kerekes
Published in Psychiatry Research
Volume 250
Pages 302–309
ISSN 0165-1781
Publication year 2017
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Centre for Ethics, Law, and Mental Health
Pages 302–309
Language en
Subject categories Psychiatry


Gender specific personality profiles in association with the level of aggressive antisocial behavior in offenders have not been previously investigated. In the present study we analyzed data collected from 65 male and 50 female offenders using structured protocols regarding criminal history (by criminal register data), trait aggression (by the Life History of Aggression (LHA) questionnaire), and personality profiles (by the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI)). Prison inmates differed significantly on several personality dimensions, most pronouncedly were they characterized with low character maturity (low scores in the Self-Directedness and Cooperativeness dimensions of TCI) when compared to gender and age matched controls of the general population. The majority of offenders scored distinctively high on trait aggression. There were moderate to strong associations between the personality dimensions and each of the subscales of LHA (Aggression, Self-directed Aggression and Antisocial behavior). These associations were stronger in the female offender sample. Trait aggression could be best explained by a model, which included male gender, younger age, high novelty seeking temperament and low character maturity. Our results suggest that therapies aiming at strengthening self-governance and increasing cooperativeness (focusing on character maturity) may alleviate aggressive antisocial behavior in offenders.

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