Psychosocial adjustment problems : Individual and acculturation differences

University dissertation from Stockholm : Psykologiska institutionen

Abstract: This thesis addresses individual and environmental risk factors in the development of adjustment problems and antisocial behaviour. Namely, temperament and character, anxiety, psychopathic-like traits, antisocial attitudes, alcohol use, and parental rearing strategies are explored as risk factors for behaviour problems in childhood, adolescence and adulthood. When interpreting results of specific studies, an ecological framework is applied to take into account socio-cultural and acculturation circumstances.In Studies I and II, the subjects under investigation are incarcerated Russian detainees aged 14-19 years (n=250). The main purpose of Study I was to investigate the validity of the Antisocial Process Screening Device (APSD) in a sample of Russian juvenile delinquents. Study II examined the relationship between psychopathy and violent behaviour. An association between psychopathy and quality of life is explored in Study III, using a sample of Swedish early criminals and controls aged 38-41 years (n=199). In Study IV, international and national college students aged 17-51 years (n=246), are studied regarding perceived adjustment stressors and acculturational differences.The results suggested good validity of the APSD in the Russian male detainees. Additionally, the results support a dimensional aspect of the psychopathy construct as measured by the PCL and APSD, and suggest that individual and environmental antecedents of psychopathy may differ between the distinct psychopathy factors. The more violent group showed higher levels of psychopathic traits and physical aggression, had more alcohol related problems, and perceived antisocial behavior as more ‘normative’. Moreover, impulsiveness, anger, verbal aggression and antisocial attitudes discriminated between the psychopathic and non-psychopathic subgroups. The results further indicated that self reported quality of life was poorer among individuals with psychopathic-like traits. Finally, grouping the detainees, criminals and controls, as well as the students according to their unique needs seemed to be beneficial, not only regarding psychopathic-like traits, violent behaviour and antisocial attitudes, but also in the context of acculturation and adjustment processes.

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