Electronic Theses and Dissertations


Identifying Dysfunction in Persistent Social Deviance: Perspective Taking as a Mediator of the Relationship Between Psychopathy and Social Aggression

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Psychology

First Advisor

Alan M. Gross

Second Advisor

John Bentley

Third Advisor

John Young


Psychopathy has been associated with social aggression in a number of studies. Perspective taking (e.g. theory of mind and empathy) has been inversely associated with both psychopathy and social aggression, suggesting that it may serve as a potential mediator of this relationship. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to assess perspective taking as a potential partial mediator of the relationship between psychopathy and social aggression in a sample of 439 undergraduates. Although bivariate correlations produced the expected negative relationships between perspective taking and psychopathy and social aggression, perspective taking did not function as a mediator in the SEM analysis. Implications for future research and conceptualizations of psychopathic mechanisms of dysfunction are discussed.

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