Psycopathy: A controversial clinical entity but a forensic psychiatry necessity

Rafael Torrubia Beltri, Àngel Cuquerella Fuentes

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Psychopathy is one of the more controversial clinical disorders in psychiatry due to confusion of the conceptual and the terminological aspects. However, the clinical, forensic and laboratory evidence accumulated during the last decades justifies the use of a specific clinical construct to define individuals who, because of their cold, manipulating and impulsive character, their aggressiveness and persistent violation of the social norms, are in permanent conflict with society. In this review, we first present a brief summary of the conceptual and terminological controversies related to psychopathy, then some of the current classification categories are described and compared. In the final section, some empirical evidence is presented that supports the validity and the practical usefulness of the diagnostic criteria of psychopathy developed by R.D. Hare. It is concluded that we must start using these criteria routinely in forensic practice in our country. © 2008 Asociación Nacional de Médicos Forenses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-35
JournalRevista Espanola de Medicina Legal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008


  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Checklist-revised
  • Dissocial personality disorder
  • Psychopathy
  • Violence


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