Perceptions of treatment among offenders with mental health problems and problematic substance use: The possible relevance of psychopathic personality traits


Substance abuse is related to re-offending, and substance abuse treatment may be effective in reducing criminal recidivism. Psychopathy, however, another factor that strongly correlates with re-offending, may be negatively associated with treatment utilization. This qualitative study explored perceptions of substance abuse treatment among offenders with mental health problems, problematic substance use, and various degrees of psychopathic personality traits. An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) revealed that some treatment perceptions may vary with degree of psychopathic traits. For instance, participants with low and high degrees of psychopathic personality traits had different views on treatment requirements imposed upon them. Many treatment perceptions were also similar between the two participant groups. Thus, treatment perceptions may not be explained by degree of psychopathic personality traits alone, but the presence of some particular psychopathic traits may be relevant in explaining certain treatment perceptions. The results highlight the complex relationship between the individual and the treatment system, and may give input to future studies on rehabilitation of offenders with multiple treatment needs.

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Durbeej, N. , Alm, C. and Gumpert, C. (2014) Perceptions of treatment among offenders with mental health problems and problematic substance use: The possible relevance of psychopathic personality traits. Open Journal of Psychiatry, 4, 79-90. doi: 10.4236/ojpsych.2014.41012.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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