Tuesday, 29 August 2017

H&CPRG Seminar 6th September

Health and Clinical Psychology Research Group Seminar
School of Psychology, University of Newcastle

Clarifying the Associations between Psychopathy and Individual Differences in Attachment 

The H&CPRG are pleased to present this invited seminar on the links between attachment and psychopathy. All welcome.

Date: 6th September
Time: 12 noon
Place: The Keats Room (AVLG17), Callaghan Campus (video to Ourimbah Science Offices).


Psychopathy is a construct characterised by a constellation of affective, interpersonal and behavioural features and is known for it's socially disruptive nature. However, despite the interpersonal destructive nature of psychopathy, there is limited information regarding how this construct relates interpersonally to others. One theory which could be useful in understanding not only the interpersonal processes of psychopathy, but potentially its etiology, is attachment theory. While a small literature regarding the association between psychopathy and attachment has been developed in recent years, there have been a number methodological issues which has made it difficult to clearly understand the relationship between attachment and psychopathy. To this end, we conducted a series of studies in university and community populations to understand the relationship between psychopathy and individual difference in general attachment style and attachment styles in specific normative attachment relationships. Our results suggest that there are consistent associations between individual differences in attachment styles and psychopathy, which tend to differ depending on the attachment dimension, component of psychopathy or specific attachment relationship under consideration. Our results are supportive of the application of attachment theory to understand the interpersonal processes of psychopathy and provide preliminary support for further consideration of attachment theory in the etiology of psychopathy.


Elliott Christian is a registered psychologist and has recently completed his Clinical PhD at the Australian National University. His research focuses on the associations between psychopathy and attachment and he has published several articles on topic, including individual differences in attachment and psychopathy and the psychometric properties of psychopathy scales.