Volume 45, Issue 3 (May 2000)
Anger Experience, Styles of Anger Expression, Sadistic Personality Disorder, and Psychopathy in Juvenile Sexual Homicide Offenders
Sexual homicide by juveniles is a rare phenomenon, and information regarding the psychological and behavioral characteristics of this group is limited. No studies exist which have investigated anger experience and styles of anger expression, and the relationship between anger, sadistic personality disorder, and psychopathy, in this type of youthful offender. These areas were explored by evaluating 14 juvenile sexual homicide offenders through clinical assessment, the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory (STAXI), the Schedule for Nonadaptive and Adaptive Personality (SNAP), the Revised Psychopathy Checklist (PCL-R), and review of correctional records. Descriptive information for the STAXI scales and internal consistency data are presented. Trait Anger was significantly higher than State Anger for the youth, but still comparable to adolescent norms. The difference between Anger-In and Anger-Out scale scores was not significant. Unexpectedly, Anger Control scale scores were significantly higher than Anger Out scale scores, clinically consistent with efforts by some of these boys to resist sadistic impulses. Those four (31%) participants who met criteria for sadistic personality had significantly higher Anger-Out scale scores than those without the disorder, and were also higher on Trait Anger to a marginally significant degree. Psychopathy was significantly negatively associated with Anger Control. This study is intended to contribute to the scant literature on juvenile sexual homicide, and lends some support to the validity and utility of sadistic personality disorder as a diagnosis in younger forensic populations. The findings did not support the contention that this form of violence is necessarily an outgrowth of excessive anger.