Is there a relationship between psychopathic traits and racism?

Kaine Adam Grigg, Lenore Hilda Manderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Psychopathy has a long history in both criminal forensic psychology research and clinical practice, with a diverse range of anti-social attitudes and behaviours regularly found to coexist with psychopathy. Racist attitudes are considered anti-social and share several commonalities with psychopathic personality traits, including in their development and their manifestation. Both psychopathy and racism have significant and pervasive detrimental impacts on society; enhancing understandings of each construct and the potential ways to reduce their societal impact would therefore be useful. Using two measures of racist attitudes, the present study aimed to provide the first exploration of psychopathic personality traits and racist attitudes in 402 adolescents and adults (M = 23.24 years, SD = 9.72 years) from the Australian community. The results provide strong support for the existence of a relationship between psychopathy and racism, and provide additional validity evidence for RACES as an effective measure of racist attitudes in Australia. These findings provide impetus for future work into racism and psychopathy, and highlight the potential for integrating existing knowledge about both constructs to address the impacts of each simultaneously. This research also underscores the merit of further research on the relationship between criminal behaviour and racist attitudes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)702 - 712
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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